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The Sun Magazine

Body and Mind

Fear

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Unlocked

My mother regularly told me, Heather, if you are ever in danger and I’m not there, make your way to a house with flowers. The flowers show they care and are kind and will help.

It didn’t occur to me until years later that we had not a single bloom in our yard.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Good Patient

I placed a check mark next to the box on the insurance form that said “pre-existing condition.” I placed a check mark next to “nonsmoker.” I placed a check mark next to dog owner, homeowner, married, employed, college educated, drinks socially, and has no savings or family members with money to turn to for help. I placed a check mark next to I want to live to be twenty-six.

Fiction

Imogene’s Prayer

The pills are about the size of a bing-cherry pit in diameter and are a faint green color, like the eggs of some songbirds. On one side they have a deeply inscribed SZ, on the other, the number 789. They are Ritalin, the ten-milligram kind. Imogene knows them by sight because occasionally patients admitted to the psychiatric ward where she works as a nurse have containers of assorted pills, and she has learned to spot the ones that will get her high.