A note from editor Hannah Huber:
For this issue I was drawn to pieces that asked questions so critical that the answers could be nothing less than transformative, if not shattering. What if a different choice was made? What if I’d listened to that inner voice telling me to walk away. Who am I if I don’t speak up? I believe it cost each of these writers something to tell their stories, and what they’ve left on the page has value. We are the recipients and can carry these stories with us like coins.
The Ether Diaries
By Christine Brooks
A woman searches for answers about her origin, her birth parents, and the life and love she might have known if different choices had been made. An imagined dialogue between mother and an unborn child weaves a rich, lyrical narrative around the harsher facts uncovered.
“I remember the day like it was yesterday when I learned I could obtain my original birth certificate. I sent away to the Department of Public Health immediately, and waited patiently for the certified letter to arrive with my birth name, your name, and hopefully my father’s name. I waited each day like an anxious child on Christmas Eve, until finally, the certified card arrived letting me know my birth certificate was only a few miles away. Finally, I was going to learn about how my life began.”
By Abby Luby
A young couple, caught up in the excitement and pressure of their time, choose to marry. They struggle trusting in themselves to make the right decision when the world around them has become a confusing and unreliable place.
“Wedding plans are in their own expanding bubble, mom energized by the planning, printing invitations, reserving the temple and its banquet room, the music, the rabbi (a sweet, gentle person I know for most of my eighteen years) who summons me and my non-Jewish fiancé to chat in the chapel in front of the arc holding the sacred scrolls within.”
Nine Other Lives
By Robert D. Kirvel
Our lives are formed by a handful of people, moments, and decisions. This collection of imprints give shape to a life touched by friendship, marked by cultural revolution and enriched by the pursuit and preservation of the self.
“I find myself unable to believe in the things Babo accepted on faith, and value instead critical thinking, but I suspect we can increase in some personal way from almost everyone who crosses our path. That is to say, we can increase ourselves rather than feel reduced whether people—clever or foolish, intentionally or otherwise—reinforce or diminish us while doing what it is they do.”