Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Michael Matkin is a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn, New York.
The Sun doesn’t usually report on current events, but September’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. marked a turning point for all of us. We put out a call to our writers, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy and its aftermath. The response was overwhelming. As word got around, we received submissions not only from regular contributors but from writers who are new to The Sun’s pages.
The second time I come to see her, she lets me touch her right breast. I’m sure she would let me touch the left one, and maybe slide my hand down her smooth belly, but the idea is too much for me. She strokes my arm as I hand her the fives through the window, just barely brushes her fingertips along the inside of my elbow. I roll her nipple between my fingers, run my palm over the breathless curve. I want to stop.
Wind from passing trucks rocked the car hard. He opened the door and got in without speaking, wedged the bag and blankets under his feet. The smell rolled across to me, far worse than I’d imagined: creosote, vomit, rot.
Something at the center of my body wound tighter. Step one, I said to myself: I am helpless in the face of my addiction. At my Narcotics Anonymous meeting the night before, I had set up the folding chairs, brewed an urn of coffee, and dusted the surfaces with my jacket until I felt my desperation subside. Service to my fellow human beings, I knew, was all that could save me.