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SHORT STORY: Marcy’s Heart

November 27, 2010

I performed this pieces to an audience for the first time at my friend’s son’s fundraiser. She and her son have an amazing story and plan on hosting future fundraiser’s for Duchenne’s awareness. Click here for the interview and film clip. Although fictional, the story is dedicated to Nicola.

Marcy’s heart beats in a peculiar way. The thumping against her chest is strung together as one sound, like a gentle hum or a pigeon’s coo. It never bothered her before, it is polite and even as her older brother Samuel holds his hand across her chest protectively, he can’t feel a beat.

Doctors say she eats too much, without asking about her diet they fabricate this conclusion by poking her round belly with their pencil ends. Marcy giggles a bit when they do this but eventually she continues pick at her scab on her shin that she’s been working on all afternoon.

Samuel grunts at their diagnosis. “Nothing? You won’t do nothing about her heart?” and one by one the doctors from all parts of the town collectively shrug. They don’t deny she is sick, they simply don’t care to fix her. This is unfortunate because that night Marcy’s skin glistens with sweat, her breath quickens at a disturbing rate, and her belly inflates and deflates like a dark balloon.

Beneath the fingernail moon, long after the cold wash cloth grew hot with failure, Samuel prays. Aloud and loudly, with as much sincerity he can muster up. When he runs out of words to say he begins to sing. Somehow, the lyrics of gospels from scattered Sunday services collect on his lips.  Christmas carols proceed but silence soon falls upon him. The stillness spreads thinly across the night with Marcy’s panting as its sole chorus. The two hang on to the hope that someone is listening.

There was no thunder or lightning, the clouds do not part from the sky and no booming voice shakes the earth, but Marcy’s breathe slows to normalcy and in turn so does her heart.

The wind pulls the clouds across the moon and two silhouettes crawl up the wall of a barn. In relief, Samuel falls and dugs his knees in to the hardwood, the floor boards squeal rejoicing. Pearls of sweat tumble down Marcy’s face. That morning, she finally finishes the scab on her shin.

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