“Seeing Marcella”

I accidentally bump into her grocery cart and that’s when I recognize her. It’s Marcella, from the old neighborhood. She looks startled, as if she can’t recall how the infant she’s holding got into her arms. She must be thirty now. When she realizes who I am—her neighbor from the Second Ward, from back when she was young enough to ride her bike without a t-shirt—she blushes a moment, then nods her head shyly, cradling her infant closer.

“Thomás,” she says, remembering.

Seeing her reminds me of the night Solomon was gunned down in the bungalow that separated her family from mine. El Alacran gang members targeted the wrong spot. Solomon was five and they got him in his sleep, a stray bullet splintering his carotid artery. Marcella would have been about nine. I’d just finished my first quarter at the Institute, still living with mom. Now it’s 1970 and we’ve both moved up, shopping for food here in River Oaks.

Marcella wears a giant rock on her ring finger and when I ask what she’s doing these days, where she’s living, she bobs the sleeping infant against her chest and explains that he is her seventh child. She looks almost happy and she’s clearly provided for, so I leave it at that. But for the next twenty minutes I wander the aisles, indecisive. My stomach churns and I find my way to the parking lot where I can sit in my car, mind reeling.

There isn’t anything in that store to soothe the things I’ve swallowed, things that seeing Marcella makes me taste all over again. There’s Solomon down there, his tiny body like a scar along my stomach lining. There’s the day my abuela died, too soon, my mother wailing at the wake. There’s Nutria getting an abortion and my sister leaving us. The boyfriend who hit her so hard her jaw unhinged—the only man I ever wanted to kill. It all festers, acid hot in my throat, my hands gripping the wheel with so many years gone past and still—I’m driving nowhere, nowhere fast at all.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Most Popular Essays/Articles (all) Featured Fiction New Fiction Why I Write
Sort by

“On Writing”

Writing, for me, is unlike any other form of art in
2019-03-07 11:59:20
lmarecki

8

“On the Duty of Writers”

It isn’t much. One might say, as Faulkner claimed, that we have a duty to unearth the truths of the human h
2019-02-20 13:28:37
jbernste

8

“Poison Snail Fight”

When I was a kid of seven, we lived in a place infested with soft shell snails. It was common knowledge those little
2019-02-01 07:50:07
robertpkaye

8

“Why Is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?”

The life of an author can be peculiar. Certain experiences ought to be grand events accompanied by trumpets and
2019-01-02 09:25:06
laine

8

“A Time for Fantasy”

When I was ten, my bedtime stories were Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The prose was far beyond
2018-12-24 10:59:26
abbyale21

8

Why I Write: Lena Marecki

On Writing Writing, for me, is unlike any other form of art in that its mode — words — are ab
2018-12-14 10:20:48
lmarecki

8

“Ancient Oaks”

There is a picture of me. I am twenty-five. I don’t know where this picture is now, packed away after moving, but I r
2018-11-26 10:58:51
maryod

8

“Ghosts In The Garden”

I placed the tent between the cornrows and tomato vines. The Virgin Mary sat behind the tent, arms outstretched,
2018-10-12 08:00:07
daves

8

“A Writer, Not Writing”

Except for a sneeze muffled into the crook of an arm, a sigh here or there, an occasional cough, or the sandy
2018-10-01 17:39:41
edward-dougherty

8

“The Geppetto Complex” (An Essay Translated by Toti O’Brien)

*Translation of an essay by French author Jean Chavot.    A
2018-09-21 10:17:25
totihan

8

About Katey Schultz

Katey Schultz grew up in Portland, Oregon and is most recently from Celo, North Carolina. Her debut collection of short fiction, Flashes of War, was awarded Foreword Review's IndieFab Book of the Year and a Gold Metal in Literary Fiction from the Military Writer's Society of America. Katey mentors private students from across the country and travels to teach several times a year at Interlochen Center for the Arts. She lives in a 1970 Airstream trailer bordering the Pisgah National Forest. Learn more at www.kateyschultz.com.