Read “The carriage Room,” creative nonfiction in X-R-A-Y

Memories are sometimes like an uneven chain, linking the most unrelated events. The musty smell of a dark room in a tenement basement brings back not just the discomfort of being inside it but also the echoes of what happened there. In this case, my brother’s misplaced revenge against a tenant who tried to do our family harm. The attempt only backfired but the whole business brought back how limited my family’s choices were. There were things we couldn’t escape—whether it meant living in darkness or losing a comrade to Agent Orange. But pride—or sometimes survival—often called for breaking the rules. And my brother was unflinching about it.