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The Sun Magazine

Family and Relationships

Infidelity

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

With Eyes Open

My ex-husband is dying. A year and a half ago he was on the telephone with someone, and suddenly words vanished from his brain. English became a language he’d once known but had forgotten. The memory of those things called “words” was still there, but they were lumpy, pale, and almost unrecognizable, like dust-sheeted furniture in a mansion’s unused rooms.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Mrs. Davises

One day my mother was at the hairdresser’s, sitting under the dryer with an array of tinfoil antennae in her hair and a magazine open in her lap, when she noticed that the woman under the next dryer was staring at her. The woman whispered tentatively, “Are you Mrs. Davis?”

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Over The Garden Fence

When I walk into my backyard, I hear my neighbor in her garden and smell the smoke from her cigarette. I stay close to my house, where I’m hidden from view by the overgrown laurel hedge. I was intending to weed my own garden, near the low wire fence where our dogs poke their noses at each other and over which my neighbor and I used to talk about flowers. But I don’t want to risk exposing myself.

Fiction

Tilth

A friend at her father’s funeral had warned her, “When grief comes, ride it like a wave, like a childbirth contraction, even though it might feel like it’s pulling you down to the bottom. If you don’t, you’ll pay the price later. And don’t expect anyone to do it for you.”

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

My Father’s Unholy Local Union

I knew my mother would find out before fall, when I’d leave home to find a real job. I’d watch her at the sink, her roan hair falling down, her round face red from the steaming dishwater, and I’d think about telling her, but it was impossible to open my mouth. I was sure something just under her pale skin would break if I revealed the truth: that my father was having an affair with a woman who looked like a man.