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The Sun Magazine

Body and Mind

Mental Health

Fiction

On My Way Now

Today I walk the shoreline only in my mind, when I so wanted to walk by the sea, to feel the wind, to walk through the stormy weather, unafraid. I’m “being held,” I heard them say. For my “protection.” My body and the rest of me, aged eighty-seven years, sit in a tiny cell with whitewashed walls. I might pretend this to be a cubicle inside a monastery were not the devil wailing in the corridor, making free with a man’s body, crying with his voice a pagan slander on the day, possessing a man he’s bought at some slave auction where souls are up for sale. The devil buys the soul and gets the body in the bargain.

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.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Rowboating With Hobos

I have three gifts: I can make an excellent cream soup, I’m a good speller, and most people who don’t think I’m a smart-ass or from Venus think I’m funny. Even my computer programmer ex-brother-in-law, who never laughs and is probably to some extent autistic, admits that I have a “sophisticated sense of humor.”

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Praying Alone In Qatar

It’s still dark when the muezzin calls for Fajr, the first prayer of the day. I’ve already been awake for a couple of hours: lying in bed, not thinking, not trying not to think, just taking in the predawn sounds of this utterly foreign city, Doha, the capital of Qatar. Our house faces Al Shamal Road, a long highway that snakes across the country from the northern coastline to the southern border with Saudi Arabia.