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The Sun Magazine

Family and Relationships

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

A Night Of Falling Alone

“Son, will you come downstairs, please.” He has pulled a chair up to the couch in the living room. We never use this room. The Christmas tree is placed in here each year. I would read in here as a child. That’s it. I sit on the couch and sink down. He sits straight up in the chair, his graying black hair combed back. His eyes soften. Like the sails on a boat, they offer a telltale sign of which way the wind is blowing and how strong. This afternoon, in the fading light of day, they tell me he is tired.

Fiction

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When she looked in the mirror, she imagined herself as someone very different from the person she’d become. Not the sort of woman who was about to purchase a child on a home-equity loan from some poor young desperate thing whom fate had tricked and whose womb had performed the labor of incubation for nine months and who — for financial and emotional reasons, most likely — would be unable to keep the part of her that is advertised as every woman’s greatest joy. What would it mean, this exchange, and how would they explain it satisfactorily to the child, who would “want to know,” as all the books and experts repeated like a refrain? Certainly not as tricky to explain as anonymous artificial insemination, or the donor-egg scenario.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Infant Ward

This child is not my own, but still the words of possession slip from me: “My baby girl. My sweet baby.” Although I’ve never seen her before, I think I know what she needs: the lights at her hospital bedside dimmed, her loose arms girdled securely against her chest. She has no name except “Girl” and a family surname typed on the identification card at the foot of her crib.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Man Who Hated Dogs

After all these years, my father’s rich, deep voice still filled me with a mixture of fear and awe, even over the telephone, “I don’t know why you people want a dog,” he said. By “you people,” he meant not just me and my husband, but everyone everywhere who has ever had the slightest inclination to get a dog.

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