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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Standing At The Wall

In Washington, D.C., the day is cold, the air is still, and the sun is warm. On afternoons like this, in late winter in the East, you can stand for hours in the light without freezing. I have stood a long time now, at this black wall. I don’t know what I expected to find at the Vietnam MemoriaL But after a Gulf War in which men who died behind the lines in traffic accidents were given heroes’ burials, in which soldiers who met token resistance for a hundred hours are called “greater” than those who spent months and years facing the fiercest guerrilla fighters of our century; and with President Bush pushing the notion that in Vietnam it was our loss, rather than our policy, that stained us, and that the Gulf War redeems that loss — it seems time to stand here.

India: In The Eyes Of A Stranger

I arrived in Delhi at 3:00 A.M. and found a driver, sent by my friend A.J., waiting for me at the Indira Gandhi Airport. He spoke no English, so I had no idea where he was taking me. All I knew was that A.J. had arranged to get me a room somewhere in the city.

Idle Speed: A Prison Journal

My problems began after months and months of struggling with bills and banks and a mortgage payment, when one of my more prosperous clients called and casually asked, “Did I invest thirty thousand or forty thousand dollars in the last bond issue you sold me?”

Fiction

Humboo

A wall of blood reared up off the coast of Sicily, thundered across the sands, and slammed full force right into my dad. WHUMP! It sent him reeling, his arms flailing like pinwheels, stumbling backward and backward, but never falling down, as if he had been on the receiving end of a Sugar Ray Robinson uppercut, the force of which alone kept him on his feet. The effect was psychedelic: Dad heard colors and saw sounds. The people who were most crucial during his first twenty-one years of life — his parents, grandparents, brother, aunts, uncles — flashed by in a hallucinogenic parade of fiery color.

Jesus

I am a thirty-eight-year-old heterosexual white male. I am divorced, with three children. I live in Cleveland, where I work as an adjuster for the Provident Insurance Company, with offices on the top floor of the Amnesco Building, an eighty-eight-story, glass-and-steel skyscraper. Right now it is eight-fifteen in the morning. I am on my way up to the office, alone in the elevator. It stops at the second floor. The door opens, and who should get on but Jesus.

Readers Write

Fame And Fortune

When I am feeling inclined to make myself depressed, nothing does the trick like reading my University of Chicago alumni magazine with its class news full of literary prizes, distinguished new books, prestigious academic appointments, and groundbreaking discoveries. Once I wrote an entry for my wife’s amusement: “Richard A. Stewart, AM ’78, continues to pursue a mediocre career as a failed writer and low-level bureaucrat with the Chicago Public Library, at a salary not quite adequate to support his family, since he is unemployable anywhere else. Richard, his wife (who could have done better and wishes she had known what she was getting into), their four unfortunate children, two cats fond of vomiting hairballs on the family’s few decent pieces of furniture, and several thousand cockroaches live in a tiny condominium in a decaying neighborhood.” We laughed at the parody of our situation. But later, after the rest of the family had gone to bed, the contrast seemed less amusing.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

If Rosa Parks had moved to the back of the bus, you and I might never have heard of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Ramsey Clark

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