Winter 2024 • Vol. XLVI No. 1 2023 Nonfiction Contest |

The Men

The men came by foot, by 747 international flight, by purple two-seater convertible Miata. They came with gifts. Little silk drawstring bags that held amethysts. Toblerones they kept in our freezer. Cocker spaniels named Charlie Brown. They came with Rollerblades and doughnut-eating rituals they called “Pink Box Tuesdays.” They took us to La Jolla. They took us to Las Vegas. They took me to buy a mean old betta fish in a bloated bag from Petco. When they swerved between lanes on the highway they called it “crazy driving.” My little sister and I shrieked with a youthful delight that belied our terror. They were eight years younger than my mom, eleven years older, her age exactly. They were expats who lived in Denmark, carpenters, con men, landscape architects. They grafted citrus trees and sold weed and played the djembe, and one had a Playboy Bunny tattoo half lasered off his bicep. They. Did. Not. Have. Children. Only one had children. I was eight, nine, elev

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Photo of Mikaela Dunitz
Mikaela Dunitz is a writer and teacher living in Berkeley, California. Her work has appeared in Brevity and was listed as notable nonfiction in The Best American Essays 2023. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Saint Mary’s College of California and an MA in English education from Columbia University. She is at work on a memoir.

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Introduction

The men came by foot, by 747 international flight, by purple two-seater convertible Miata. They came with gifts. Little silk drawstring bags that held amethysts. Toblerones they kept in our […]

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