Pet Prose: Marcus

Author photo.

“When the Challenger exploded, she was at the end of a bad divorce after a terrible year. She’d moved to a new town, the first time she’d lived alone in her life, into a brownstone with four apartments upstairs and four down. She knew no one. She didn’t have a phone or a TV yet, and her stereo wasn’t set up.

She’d been walking down the sidewalk to the grocery store, about to pass Village Appliance, when she saw the screens on multiple televisions in the window. At first she thought it was a movie. When she was finally able to process the truth of what she was seeing–the burst of fire, the plumes of smoke, the stricken faces of the people in the stands–a woman’s parents, her parents! watching their daughter die–she forgot her errands, her plans, her lists. She walked back to the brownstone in a stupor and sat on the only chair she owned, a rocking chair.

She wasn’t aware of how many hours she sat there, rocking, dazed, wondering how a tragedy that had nothing to do with her seemed to be the culmination of months of misery. She longed for another living thing to share the silence. A cat. A dog. A goldfish. She heard the entry door open and the sound of someone going upstairs, and she wished she were the kind of person who could open her door and start a conversation with a stranger.

It wasn’t her way.

As the darkness from the windows finally permeated every corner of her three rooms, she couldn’t bear another minute of solitude. She left her apartment, crept down the hall, and took the stairs up, drawn to the back of the building where she could hear a voice through a door. It took her a moment to understand she was hearing one side of a phone conversation.

‘…so terrible…do you think there’s any hope? No, I know it’s not like a rocket with a capsule for the crew, but could they have… But all of them dead. Do you think they knew? I can’t stop thinking of her parents’ faces…’

She sank to the floor in a crouch, rested her head against the door, and let the voice wrap around her like a blanket.”

From Marcus’s short story “Falling.”

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.


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