Our Relationship with Thieves by Kati Hendrey

There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have a childhood secret. That’s my theory, anyway. As we grow older, these secrets we keep sometimes become more of a big deal, or sometimes less. But I’m pretty certain everyone has one, and they are never spoken of. I have one, though I’ll never tell.

Kati Hendrey’s Our Relationship with Thieves has that sort of mystical quality of childhood secrets and confessions. In this case, it is the confession of now-grown preteen girl to a dead man, her neighbor. And it is through this confession we learn the secrets of Martin (the dead neighbor), and the demons with which he battled. The unfolding of these stories has a sort of elegance to it.

Though the girl never says she’s sorry, there is a certain apologetic quality to her confession. She has been awful to Martin’s step-children, but she is quick to remind him that they deserved it. No. It’s more like she is sorry for knowing his dirty laundry, and sorry she cannot fix the mess of his life, a mess she has bared witness to. This story is a memory, and though it is not a fond one, it is one that has had some careful consideration.

Our Relationship with Thieves by Kati Hendrey appears in the delightful point-of-view anthology You, Me & a Bit of We: A Celebration of Writing in First and Second Person. It is available in print and for the Kindle. The anthology was put together by a British publisher, so it is also available on some of the larger UK sites.

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