Susan Wyssen
The Thinnest of Threads

Susan Wyssen - The Thinnest of Threads

Creative Nonfiction
Susan Wyssen is a printmaker, weaver, and writer. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest on a lake carved between apple trees and forests. Her work explores memory and American mythology, particularly… Read more »

The Thinnest of Threads

Susan Wyssen

I wanted to shoot the gun that day. My stepfather, Jim, brought a pistol and a rifle with us to the orchard dump. Jim let my older brother shoot the rifle. A skinny ten-year-old, Henry fell down from the recoil and we all laughed. My sister, eight years older than me, got to lay low on the ground and shoot the pistol at some rusty cans Jim had set up on one of the low trash piles. I wanted to try shooting, but Jim said if the rifle made Henry fall ass over kettle, it would knock me clean across the orchard. What about the pistol, I asked. I could shoot the pistol. After I’m sure a lot of whimpering and baby talk (my six-year-old self was forever getting in trouble for baby talk), Jim acquiesced and set me up with the pistol.

I laid my belly against a rise in the dirt where my siblings had taken their shots. I folded both hands around the handle of the pistol and sighted my target. When I wanted to concentrate hard as a kid, I bit my lower lip. Sucking my lip was right up there with baby-talk for getting me… Read more »