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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Mataji

I first met Mataji at the river. I had travelled a long way by bus, boat, and truck. The Middle Eastern countries were hard to travel through. I was pelted with rocks once. Women just don’t travel alone in Muslim areas. The river at Benares seemed hospitable in comparison, a natural stopping point. A time to recoup, write home. Hindus came to Benares to die. Me, I just wanted to settle myself.

Now And Then

It has never been my policy to hold a grudge. Yet, I must confess that I have never been able to forgive Adam and Eve.

The Garden of Eden was a suburb of Heaven. To get yourself banished to the front porch of the other place was a consequence not to be taken lightly. Yet, they did it.

Fiction

Calligraphy Class

His small, sinuous hand moves, graceful as water over a rock. “Like this,” he says, and smiles as he hands back the brush.

Children Kissing

“Ma! Ma, Patty’s up the big tree again kissing Billy! Ma!”

I kept looking at Patty’s smooth face across the branch from me in the tree, and hearing Tony shouting into the house. Patty heard it too, but she just kept smiling and I leaned across the big branch and kissed her. Her mouth felt soft and like warm rubber against my mouth, and she smelled faintly like cooked cabbage. A funny, clean smell, but like the air inside the houses of poor people.

Relieving Ramona

I get there early, but even so Ramona says, “Thank the Lord,” when she sees me come in and plop down my bag, as if I’m late. She has her back to me, is on the phone talking to Bobby who is down the hill at a pay phone claiming she can stay out all night if she wants to, she’s had it, and Ramona says, “Well, I’ve had it, too. What do you think it’s like working this job?” Then she hangs up and turns to me, her eyes round saucers in a long, slender face, her black, stiff hair standing straight up on her head where she’s pulled it and pulled it on her Friday night/ Saturday morning shift and she says, “It’s been a bitch.”

Readers Write

Lost And Found

In my eleventh year I found a pocketknife. Closed, it was about four inches long, with a bone handle that was fat and round at one end, and tapered into a squared brass cap on the other. The blade was shaped like a hawk’s bill, and by aid of a small lever would lock in place. Both handle and blade were well worn. On the fat end of the handle someone had carved the initials LDW. The knife, when opened, fit snugly in the palm of the hand, and felt as if it had been held that way a thousand times. It was the perfect knife for scraping bark off a fallen limb, or for splitting a scrap of rawhide. I grew fond of this knife and for a while carried it wherever I went.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

The great heresy and the only real heresy is the idea that anything is separate, distinct, and different essentially from other things. That is a wandering from natural fact and law, for nature is nothing if not coordination, cooperation, mutual helpfulness; and the rule of fundamental unity is perfectly universal: everything in the universe lives for everything else.

G. dePurucker, Golden Precepts

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