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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Dizzy

Eleven years ago I woke up to find the room spinning. In the soft blue-gray light of morning, the walls folded and slid and picked up speed. I pressed my body hard against the mattress, frantically searching for something to hold on to, but everything was moving with me.

Skinning The Rabbit

My father and brother constructed the trap in the basement workshop. I followed them to the forest behind the barn, where they would set it. We lived on a thirteen-acre farm called Merryview, where we raised horses — hunters, jumpers, and Shetland ponies — along with other animals.

Willie

No one in prison is ever coming back. Once we’ve served our time, everything is finally going to work out. We’re all going to stay in touch, so we can share our good news — except I’ve been giving out a fake phone number this entire time. I’m embarrassed to know these men, eyewitnesses to a shameful period of my life I can’t wait to live down: two years in prison for a nonviolent offense.

Excerpts From A Course In Miracles

Everyone who ever tried to use prayer to ask for something has experienced what appears to be failure. This is not only true in connection with specific things that might be harmful, but also in connection with requests that are strictly in line with this course. The latter in particular might be incorrectly interpreted as “proof” that the course does not mean what it says. You must remember, however, that the course states, and repeatedly, that its purpose is the escape from fear.

When I Was Invincible

So many times I would take risks that should have scared me but didn’t. When you grow up in a big city with hands-off parents, you become accustomed to harrowing situations. You may even come to feel that the wet plum of fear living permanently in your gut is essential to your being.

Missed Call

It’s 7 AM, and I’ve finally come back to my car. I force myself to check my phone and assess the damage: four missed calls — three from Rebecca, my girlfriend, and one from my father. I’m parked at a Pavilions grocery store on Melrose in Hollywood, a few blocks from the gay bathhouse where I’ve been since yesterday evening.

Lost

People have started offering you desserts in a way they think is casual, saying, “It’s just one bite. It won’t make a difference!” But it does. You can eat certain foods and you cannot eat others, and this is the only way you can feel OK. Losing weight is not the point.

Peanut

The goat became my charge during my third week in rehab. My counselor, Victoria, suggested I browse the stuffed-animal collection at the clinic gift shop and select one to represent my inner child. “Care for it,” she told me. “Keep it safe. Treat your inner child as you would a baby bird that’s fallen out of its nest.” She cupped her hands, as if to cradle a tiny chick.

That Night, That Morning

That night the parents tell their children they can stay up until nine, an hour past bedtime, but no more. It is a school night, after all, and the children must get up at six tomorrow morning. But this is no ordinary Tuesday night, the parents know, and the children have been begging to stay up later.

Dirty Work

After I stoppped having concerns over a Row Five assignment, there was only one thing I actively feared: the tap. Once every week or so the Narc would tap an attendant on the shoulder and send him or her to the backroom to thin out the population.