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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Law Of Relation

(Part Two)

They are lovers. He told me last night at 3 a.m., after we had taken several long walks, talking and coming to no resolution. After weeks of fighting, absolutely at cross-purposes, as though we were speaking entirely different languages. He absolutely abstract on the subject of “wanting to try other lovers,” so that I thought it was some academic question, something he’d picked up out of Penthouse. And I absolutely abstract on the doctrine of Christian marriage. And both of us as suspicious of each other as though we had just met, as though we had never been through those winters and summers, as though we hadn’t lived for four years the life of each other’s bodies. “Trust me,” he said — an expression he has never used with me before, and which is discredited by being spoken at all.


Leaving The Dead

My mother wanted to flush our pet goldfish down the toilet. My brother and I thought we at least ought to look after its death since we hadn’t done much for its short life.

Yahbo The Hawk

One Sunday morning, instead of going to the church, I went into the park near it. Just as I was about to climb an oak tree, I saw a friend of mine walk down the path from behind a partisan monument. One dark bronze-alloy partisan was perpetually about to throw a hand grenade at the town; another was shoving his rifle into the air in his right hand, clenching his left fist and shouting a most terrifying metal silence.

The Things We Learn

The seniors lean on their baseball bats and watch us file in from track. I keep my head down, hoping to pass unnoticed. But still, he sees me. “Christ killer,” he says, low under his breath like he is grinding a cigarette into the pavement. Then he smiles at the blond cheerleader next to me. His teeth are crisp, his eyes the color of dreams. He is captain of every team.

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Readers Write


Lily Reamer is the pretty one. I see her framed in the back window of her parents’ Pontiac. Her white organdy confirmation dress billows around her and a big satin ribbon makes a crown on her frothy blond hair. She looks like a tiny bride on the way to the church. I hate my own looks. I have long dark braids and short, jagged bangs that my mother keeps trimmed with fingernail scissors. My eyebrows grow straight across my face in a harsh, relentless line; they don’t even skip a space when they get to the bridge of my nose. My teeth stick out. I smile at myself in the mirror and groan. Why didn’t I quit sucking my thumb when my mother told me to? I am skinny. All ribs and no breasts, I am a Carter’s undershirt in a locker room of lacy B-cups. I stand close to my locker when I dress, trying to be invisible. For a while I have to wear corrective shoes — brown leather with laces, and steel plates in the toes to keep my feet from pointing in. “Look out!” they scream on the soccer field. “Bird Legs is wearing her killer shoes!”

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

James Baldwin

More Quotations ▸
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