All her hoarding had depleted her. So it went, with safety, the more you guarded, the less you had. —Richard Powers, The Echomaker
Tell us about the person who owned this couch. To do that, you will need to persuade us that at one point, that couch was beautiful in the eyes of the purchaser, so beautiful that the woman or man who bought it added to tens of thousands of dollar of debt that they already carried. Tell us the progression of the couch from treasured object and status indicator to repository of grease stains and crumpled candy wrappers, to “Let’s just take it out to the desert. Eddie’ll let us borrow the truck.”
Now, tell us about your treasured objects and status indicators – past, present and future. Tell us how they keep you safe. Tell us how they drain you. Tell us if you believe that More will keep you safe. And More. And More.
Elizabeth Maginnis writes about a wall and a human being: Faith. Hope. Belief in a better life waiting for me on the other side of that Wall of Hate constructed at the direction of an ignorant joke of a man who stumbled his way into the most important job in the world. I and others like me will prevail in the end. There is always hope that enough people care enough about the fate of the less fortunate ones to defy orders and help them slip through or climb over that stupid wall so they can build a new life in a free society.
A hand reaches through the fence slats holding out a bottle of water toward my cracked and sunburned hands. Shaking, I take it and greedily lift it to my lips, desperate for the cool comfort that washes down my throat. Softly, she asks if I can slide between the slats. She will take me to a church in a nearby border town for sanctuary until transportation to a safer location can be arranged. I take her offered hand and slip through the wall to freedom.
I awaken to a blazing sun. It is midday. The wall looms overhead and as far as the eye can see. I am alone. There is no one here. No one offering me water. No one helping me cross over to a better life. No one but the lizards and the snakes and the taste of the Sonoran Desert in my mouth.
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