The first time the cat showed up, Suzie opened the front door to go to work and it was waiting outside. Fat and orange, it walked right past her into the living room. No collar, matted fur, a scratch across its dirty nose and some crooked whiskers, but still regal looking, a lingering sense of entitlement and snobbery—suburban cat fallen on hard times, slumming it in their crowded-together, student-and-poorpeople part of town. Grant was sleeping and she was late to work, her fifth day in a row of morning sickness, so she just let the animal in and shut the door behind her.
At work, there were two big orders for baseball trophies waiting to be assembled, along with thirty name tags for Cassie’s Candy, so she forgot all about it until her lunch break, when Grant called and asked why there was a mangy stray in their bed.
“He got in when I opened the door this morning,” she said. She was sitting on top of the picnic bench outside the shop, mouth full of ham and grape jelly sandwich— not a pregnant thing; she’d been eating them for years, a quick cheap way to satisfy a savory/sweet crave, though this one was turning her stomach.
“And so you just let him stay in?” he asked.
“I was late to work.”
“Are you eating or something?”
“What did the cat do?”
“What do you mean? I woke up and it was sitting across my feet, licking its balls and looking at me.”
“Did you put it outside?”
“Can you stop eating for one minute?”
“No. I’m pregnant.”
Grant sighed. Even though he hadn’t said anything, she knew he thought she got pregnant on purpose—the way he suddenly seemed wary, sleeping in until she left for work, staying for drinks after waiting tables at the Outback, falling asleep the second he hit the bed smelling of booze and tri-tip, no fooling around. They’d been living together two years, and before she found out she was pregnant she’d been saying things, dropping hints about getting married and having children. Because you have to talk about that stuff at some point. But it was just a coincidence she got all twisted around with her birth control pills—missed a couple, took a couple. She was only two and a half months along, but she could already feel it inside her, a warm unfurling, like driving a winding canyon road on a moonlit night, that kind of awe, that anxiety.
When she first told him, Grant, with an obvious lack of enthusiasm, said they needed to take some time and weigh their options. She responded with, “What is the weight of nothing?” and then went to bed and locked the door. He hadn’t brought it up again. That was good, because there was no question of whether she was going to keep this baby. She believed in cosmic timing, forces that know what should happen when.
“Yes, I put him outside,” he said. “It took me like twenty minutes. Eventually I opened a can of tuna and he followed me out.”
“Did you give him the tuna?”
“No way. That’s perfectly good tuna. I made myself a sandwich.”
Harry pulled up in the white Arnie’s Awards van. She never asked but figured they thought Harry’s Awards potentially unappealing to Little League coaches and fast-food managers. He opened the back and took out a box. When he saw Suzie, he motioned her over.
“Damnit. I gotta go,” she said. This meant she wouldn’t get the last ten minutes of her break, which she was saving for a cigarette. She’d cut down to one a day, which was a lot better than it used to be. It would be a shock to her body to quit completely, just cold turkey. That wouldn’t be good for the baby either. Her plan was to slowly wean herself, so that when she really started to show, she wouldn’t have to deal with additional dirty looks from the college kids who walked by the shop on their way to the stores and bars on the other side.
“Bases,” Harry said as she walked over. He handed her a box and she almost dropped it. The bases for the trophies were made of cheap marble, and they weighed a ton. Suzie hadn’t told them she was pregnant. Sooner or later it would have to come up, but she was hesitant to tell Harry too soon; he listened to Christian talk radio and never swore and seemed upset by any mention of her and Grant living together out of wedlock. Plus keeping the secret made her feel special somehow, like she had this prize that nobody else knew about. She would unveil it at just the right moment. With characteristic gruffness, Harry would offer his help, maybe even embrace her in an awkward-yet-tender show of emotion.
She struggled inside with the box, going down the stairs carefully, trying to keep her weight back. The assembly area was in the basement of the shop. Only she and the engraver, Sam, worked down there, though she rarely saw him—he had his own little room with a private door. But Harry usually spent some time in the main part of the basement with her, most likely uncomfortable in the display room, all that glass and pristine surface. And even when he didn’t wear his yellowing undershirts, that big wiry beard and scowl probably tended to scare off the more skittish customers.
“This should keep us through the Little League season,” Harry said, coming up behind her. He set the boxes he was carrying under the bench and then took hers and sliced the tape on it with an exacto. Lifting one out, he unwrapped its foam sheet and held it up to the light.
“Aren’t these beauties. I ordered them from a new manufacturer. They’re a little more expensive, but I think it’s worth it.” He handed her the base.
The finish was smooth, no chips, no flaws. “Gorgeous,” she said. They were pale green, swirls of subtle quartz and flecks of something shimmery, mica? She’d never seen bases like them.
They set up an assembly line on the bench. Bases then bolts then columns then figures then washers then nuts. The bench was wrapped in a sheet of cheap orange industrial carpet stapled to the wood. It was a little beat up; threads pulled out, singed and holed, but it helped to keep the materials unscratched, and she liked the way it felt underneath her hands, a topographical map of their hard work. Harry started the trophies, threading the bolts through the hole in the marble, placing the columns over the bolts, and she finished them, screwing on the figurines, smiling bronze boys frozen in mid-swing ecstasy, everything possible, victory imminent, and then the washer and nut to secure it all in place. The only sounds were the ting and clack of the metal rods and marble as they bumped against each other and the low soothing voice on the radio. Today they were talking about why God allows people to suffer eternally in hell, what the speaker called narrow salvation. He was comparing sinners to petulant children, who, despite their punishment, don’t repent but instead go the other way, insist on rebellion. “You’re going to put me in time-out? Fine. I’ll stay there all day. I don’t care,” the speaker demonstrated in a whiny child’s voice. He went on to say that sinners sent to hell are like these bratty children. They deserved an infinity of punishment, because they were never going to get it. Suzy didn’t get it, but she rarely did. Not that she didn’t believe in hell. But she felt there was a missing link somewhere between pre-ordained wickedness, an omnipresent all-knowing god, and free will. Though she didn’t vocalize this; she and Harry never talked about the content of these shows. Sometimes he grunted in approval or scorn, but there was an unspoken agreement there would be no discussion.
She’d been working for Harry for four years and, though it didn’t pay very much, she genuinely liked the work. She dropped out of college after two years—it wasn’t anything like she’d expected, droning, half-dead professors requiring the recitation of impractical and slippery facts—so she wasn’t all that marketable, especially in a college town. She felt pretty lucky, actually, to be doing something she liked. Sometimes, centering the metal plate on plaque board or beveling the edges of a nametag, shaving off the extra plastic in thin curlicue strips, she became more herself, inhabiting the moment so precisely, she had a sense this was what the mystics and gurus, those heathens, talked about: a state of enlightenment, Nirvana. And she was part of a process of rewarding people for being good, whether it was their very own nametag, or a commemoration plaque, or an MVP trophy. These things brought joy to people, told them they were special and deserved recognition.
Chad, the main salesman in the display room, came down the stairs and put a few orders in her inbox, a casual grace in his step, without looking up. He always acted like she wasn’t worthy of acknowledgement, just a lowly laborer. He was a college boy, on the football team or wrestling or something.
“Hi Suzie. Nice shirt,” he said. She looked down and realized she’d spilled
grape jelly on the white cotton of her shirt, bloated purple dashes down her chest.
“Monster blood,” she said. Chad made a face like she was embarrassing and walked back up.
Harry chuckled. “It kind of does look like monster blood,” he said.
“Everything alright, Suzie? You seem a little preoccupied today.”
“Sure.” She shrugged. “I guess I just have a lot on my mind.”
He nodded like he understood, but she wished he’d just ask her what. Though if she started talking now, there was a possibility she wouldn’t stop. Her mother hadn’t been returning her phone calls since she dropped out of college. All her friends were still in school, binge drinking and paper writing their preferred topics of conversation. Whenever anyone asked Suzie about her plans, they got this pity look and said, “Well, it’s good to take a little time off.”
Grant was the one person who understood. He said college was overrated, that her mind was too original, too clever, for their assembly line. Look at him, he’d never gone and was almost shift lead at the Outback. Managers there made upward of fifty grand.
Together they made fun of the students who fully inhabited their own clichés, the ones walking by sloppily drunk every Friday night, driving like lunatics, wandering around town glued to their Blackberrys and igadgets and hand-held PlayStations, zoned and oblivious. It was like she and Grant had their own secret club, they floated above everyone else. Lately, though, she wondered if she’d messed everything up by getting pregnant. But she also knew there was this life inside her, and it was keeping track.
“That player doesn’t have a head,” Harry said.
She looked down. A small jagged opening where the neck should be, the gold rubbed off, a colorless stub. She unscrewed the nut, disassembled it, and started over.
When she pulled up to the house that day after work, Grant wasn’t there, but the cat was. Right outside the front door like he was that morning. When she walked up, he turned and faced the door expectantly. She unlocked it and he followed her in, walking to the middle of the living room and sharpening his claws on the nylon carpet.
“Hey,” she said, clapping her hands. “Stop that.” The cat looked up at her and froze, paws in mid-scratch, then continued. She’d never had a pet before—her mom had been anti-animal, anti-neediness, anti-self-sacrifice. Suzie wasn’t really sure how one disciplined a cat.
He followed her into the kitchen. She took out an apple and some cottage cheese, and then remembered they had another can of tuna in the cupboard, so she took that out too and put some cottage cheese and tuna in a bowl and put it in front of the cat and the cat devoured it like it was the best thing he’d ever had.
She cut up the apple for herself and watched the cat finishing its dinner, and it felt nice, to feed something. She poured water in another bowl and set it on the floor next to the food, and when the cat was done with the tuna and cottage cheese, he turned and lapped at the water. Crouching on the floor beside him, she stroked him from head to tail and he lifted his back to meet her hand. Besides the patch of matted fur, which she tried to avoid, he was soft.
After he was done with the water, the cat suddenly jumped up on her shoulder. He was surprisingly deft and balanced there for a moment before spreading his body against the back of her neck like a shawl. Not knowing what she was expected to do with him, Suzie walked around the house, showing the cat different things. Look, here is where we used to eat dinner before the table leg broke, now it’s just a place to put our bills. And this is the weird closet we never knew what to do with, so it’s just empty. This is our bedroom, where we do nothing now but sleep. Don’t give me that look, it’s not dirty, those are just my clothes. I’m pregnant.
Through the bedroom window, they watched a couple kids messing around on their front lawn across the street. They’d set up some kind of contraption, a cardboard box propped up with a stick. String connected the box to a nearby tree.
Suzie pet the cat across her neck and hoped Grant would come home early. When it got dark before he got home, she felt different about him, the whole mood became weird and quiet.
Across the street the kids, not kids really, teenage boys, eighteen, nineteen maybe, played with their device, made adjustments. They placed things under it and then backed away and hid behind a bush, taking the string with them.
The sun started to go down and she took the cat to the living room and lit their fake fireplace, where they’d set candles in the pit to pretend. She called her mother again. In her message she said she had something important to tell her. That might do it, she thought. Her mother could never resist announcements, drama. When she asked about her day at school, for as long as she could remember, Suzie knew just what to tell her, had tallied the juicy details from beginning to end. In elementary school, it was who was wearing what, who had a new backpack, what the most popular kids were doing and how. In high school, it was who was dating whom, who’d gone all the way, who got busted for having pot in their locker. It wasn’t that she wasn’t interested in her own daughter’s life. Just that Suzie never really did anything. She was shy. And overweight. Grant was the first real boyfriend she’d ever had. Even if she’d wanted to drink and do drugs, she wouldn’t have known the first thing about procuring those things, let alone how to indulge in them. Smoking had been her one act of rebellion, the gas station by her house never asked to see ID, probably because she looked like she was forty at sixteen. But instead of getting her in with the cool kids, it branded her even further as outcast—the weird fat girl smoking alone after school in the parking lot. Right before she met Grant, she’d lost fifty pounds doing Jenny Craig. But now that she was pregnant, she’d probably gain it all back. Who wanted to count calorie points when there was life to sustain and bring forth.
Suddenly exhausted, she took out the book 125 Things You Must Know About Being Pregnant she’d bought on her way home from work and laid down on the couch. The cat curled up in her lap. The first page congratulated her on being pregnant in fun, loud crayon like a homemade card.
“What are you doing?” Grant asked. She startled, hadn’t heard him come in, the book falling to the floor. The cat dug its claws into her leg.
“Shit.” It scrambled off the couch and she rolled up her jeans to inspect the scratch.
“Why did you let that cat in again?” He asked. He opened the front door and it sauntered out, calm and self-assured. It was dark outside and she was bleeding.
“I fell asleep,” she said.
“You let the cat in because you fell asleep?” He asked.
“I’m bleeding,” she said.
“That’s what cats do. They scratch. They bite.” Grant said this sternly, but he also came over to the couch and sat down. He put his hands on her legs, framing the scratches with his fingers. “You’re gonna be ok,” he said and blew on her leg.
“It was at the door again when I came home, and he just walked in when I opened it,” she said.
“Bad luck, letting a cat come in like that.”
“I thought that was only with black cats.”
He left and she heard him rummaging around in the bathroom. He returned with a box of Band-Aids and a tube of Neosporin.
“He just seemed like he knew what he was doing,” she said.
“That’s the cat’s trick. Their arrogance.” He knelt beside her and tenderly dabbed at the tiny beads of blood on her leg with a tissue and then applied the Neosporin and two of the Band-Aids.
“But it’s almost like he chose us or something. Like he sensed that we were good people and would take care of him.”
“That’s the hormones talking. He probably went to twenty houses before finding one that would let him in. You just have to be careful. You’re making decisions for two now,” Grant said. He reached out and put his hand on her belly, and that was the first time he ever did anything like that.
“Jeez, did you leave the candles burning while you were sleeping?” he asked, walking over to the fake fireplace. He took the little silver flame snuffer and suffocated them. It crossed her mind that another man might have blown them out.
“How about I fix you something to eat? How does macaroni and cheese sound?” he asked, suddenly cheerful. He adjusted the picture on the mantel of the two of them at the San Francisco pier. It was one of those fun, self-taken portraits where they had ice cream all over their faces and were obviously in love. She nodded about the macaroni and cheese. The sting from the scratches was starting to go away. She wondered what the cat was going to do in the cold outside. It was supposed to rain soon. Maybe he was still waiting at the door.
“Do you think he’ll be OK?” she asked.
“Of course he will. We’ll make sure of it,” he said, still smiling in that weird cheerful way, and she knew they weren’t talking about the cat anymore.
Suzie lined up the wood frames for the plaques and imagined giving birth to a mutant. Three arms and one leg. Or one of those mouths coming out of a cheek, unfinished twin residue. And she imagined less disastrous abnormalities. Her aunt Tanya only had two fingers on one hand, and though it always seemed highly functional— she could pick stuff up and scratch herself—she was aware of it. It made her separate. She would be telling a funny story at Thanksgiving, laughing, gesturing with her good hand, and then she’d pick up her fork with the two fingers, and look at them, and become very quiet. Suzie centered the engraved metal plates on the wood backs, checked the text to make sure it was what the order called for and ensured that each plate’s corners were aligned with those of the wood. Most Creative Use of Color. Best Overall Quilt. Most Culturally Representative.
Sometimes when she thought of the things that could go wrong, she imagined overcoming them, the challenge that she rose above. Raising a child with severe autism or who was blind and deaf, she would sacrifice herself. She would write a book, give speeches about what happens when life calls on you to gather extra strength. Grant and she would rally, their love would struggle through and blossom. Her mother still hadn’t called her back, and she imagined her regret as she watched Suzie recounting her bravery on Oprah.
She’d been keeping the cat a secret from Grant. It had become a ritual—the cat would be waiting by the door when she got home from work, and since Grant always stayed late at the Outback, she had a couple hours with it before he got home. She fed it tuna and whatever leftovers Grant wouldn’t miss. The cat let her carry it around like a baby. She’d coo and sing to it. Occasionally she’d lift up her shirt and put its cold wet nose against her nipple, just to imagine what that will be like.
The cat would sit with her at the window as neighbors drove home from work and school, parking their cars, struggling inside with grocery bags or bikes. Sometimes those same guys played with that thing in their yard. Occasionally they would manipulate the string so that the box came down like a drawbridge, and they’d get excited and scoop up the box with a big sheet of metal and then run inside. They were catching something—bugs? Mice? But what did they do once they caught them? It was a mystery she and the cat continued to ponder. She always let the cat out before Grant got home, though it was becoming more difficult, taking him down the street and then running back inside so he wouldn’t follow.
When Grant got home, he didn’t go straight to bed anymore. They played cards or watched a movie first. She could tell he was trying, and she knew that counted for something. But he didn’t feel like himself anymore, like he was just going through the motions, smiling and showing her affection because that’s what he thought she wanted, sometimes bringing home flowers or cheesecake from work. Maybe the problem was that she didn’t know what she wanted. Maybe it was just the hormones.
She drilled holes in the wood for the screws that would hold the metal plates in place. Best Seams. It was nice when there was a plaque for everyone.
Suzie placed the rest of the plates for the second order of plaques and then took her break. They were out of grape jelly that morning so she made her sandwich with honey and it was great, the honey contributing just the right amount of sweetness to the meat. She hadn’t felt sick all day, hopeful it might stay that way. She was so into the sandwich, she didn’t even notice Grant until he was right next to her.
“The cat came back,” he said, sitting beside her on top of the picnic bench.
“You scared me,” she said.
Grant never visited her at work. He said the basement creeped him out, the must and all the “plastic dreams.”
“What happened?” she asked.
“You should have never let him in. Now he thinks it’s like his home or something. When I opened the door to leave for work he just slid right on by me inside,” he said.
“What did you do?”
“I put him out.”
“Did you use the tuna again?” she asked.
“We were out of tuna,” he said.
“No we aren’t. There are like twenty cans in the cupboard. Did he just go back out?”
“No, I couldn’t get him to,” he said. He put his face in her hair and sniffed. “Have you been smoking?”
“But you just said you put him out?”
Grant shook his head and smiled. For some reason she’d been noticing things she didn’t like about him lately, like this way he had of smiling like he was preparing to give some kind of performance.
“What did you do?” she asked.
“Don’t freak out, Suze. I don’t think I really hurt him.”
“What did you do?” She could feel the sandwich turn bad in her stomach. It had been too sweet.
He started to tell the story of this cat he had when he was a kid, how they would spray it with lemon juice if it got up on the counters or scratched the furniture. Suzie tuned out for a second, imagining Grant as a little boy, pulling on the family cat’s tail, chasing it around the house, and then he was saying something about Windex. He paused and she just stared at him. “I’m a little afraid I sprayed him too much. I ran after him and tried to see if he was o.k., but he just high-tailed it. Ha. Get it?”
She sat there looking at him and trying to let this information sink in. She needed to find some way around it. Maybe it was one of those things that happens when you’re not thinking as straight as you should and something slips in, like an engraving error or forgetting to take your birth control pills.
“What is wrong with you?” she asked.
“Suze, he’s an animal. He probably has bugs, disease,” he said.
A piece of hair fell in his eyes, which used to be so endearing the way it made him look like a little boy.
“You’re an animal.” She got up and threw the balled-up foil from her sandwich as hard as she could and hit him below the eye.
“Ouch. Hey, I was just looking out for you. You can’t have a wild cat in the house when you’re carrying a baby, Suzie,” he said.
“You’re going to be a father,” she shouted, then ran down the street to her car.
She drove the five miles to their house speeding, the streets dark and shiny with rain from the start-of-fall showers. She imagined the cat huddled by the doorway, shivering and blind. The cat had been in her care. It had trusted that she would protect it.
When she pulled up, the cat wasn’t there. She walked up and down the street calling kitty-kitty-kitty.
A couple blocks down, she saw a flyer she hadn’t noticed before. It was a picture of the cat. Her cat. He looked fatter and maybe a little cleaner, but it was undeniably the same animal: same jagged white stripe between its ears, same bored expression. Under the picture, it said his name was Barney, that he had a family that loved and missed him, and that there would be a small reward for anyone who found him. She’d never thought about it having a name before. Barney. That was the name of that stupid purple dinosaur. Couldn’t they have thought of anything better? She felt like she knew these people; they were the kind of people who didn’t know what it felt like to really need companionship, to give a part of themselves they never gave before.
She went back into the house and got the rest of the cottage cheese and tried again, but there was no cat, no animals period, just clean wet skinny sidewalks and some kid raking his soggy leaves. It was the same guy with the cardboard box, though the box was nowhere in sight.
“Hey,” she said to him, crossing the street. He looked up at her and smiled, resting both of his hands on the rake’s handle. He looked older than he did from the window.
“Hey yourself,” he said.
“I’ve seen you and your friend with that box.” She stopped before she reached the curb and stood there pointing at the spot where the box usually was.
“And?” He resumed his raking.
“What are you catching?”
He shrugged. “Squirrels, mostly.”
“What do you do with them, after?”
“I don’t know. We take them inside. They run around a little. We feed them stuff. It’s kind of funny to watch them with peanut butter. But then we let them go.”
The guy stopped raking and looked at her like Chad usually did. “I don’t know. What else would we do with them?”
When she got back to work, Harry was unpacking a box of figurines, taking their plastic wrappers off and lining them up on the bench, a tiny golden army.
“Where were you?” he asked.
“My cat is lost,” she said.
“I didn’t know you guys had a cat,” he said.
She set to work laying out the bolts and bases and columns and nuts.
“You can’t keep taking off like that,” Harry said. “You know, you’re putting your job in jeopardy.”
“Some things are more important than trophies.” She’d never talked to Harry like that before, and she waited for the consequence. Harry began to thread the marble. “Look, why don’t you spend some time with the plaque orders. That’s a calming activity. It always helps me collect my thoughts.”
She nodded, grateful that he wasn’t going to fire her, at least not at that moment. She looked through the large envelopes in the plaque inbox. The voice on the radio was talking about how prayer is really just a hope that you release to God, one that you are no longer responsible for.
“Harry, I’m pregnant,” she said.
He looked up briefly from his work but didn’t stop assembling. “Well, congratulations.”
She waited for him to say something else, but he didn’t. She unwrapped a plate for a single order. In Snell Roundhand, the letters slanted and graceful, it read: “Employee of the Year: Tanya Weil.” They had silkscreened this woman’s picture onto the satin gold plate. It was a nice posed picture, her blue eyes complimented by a sharp yellow collar. Red lipstick and very white teeth. “You can’t dictate the terms of your faith, of what you deserve and need, what is best,” the voice on the radio was saying. Beneath the picture, it said in smaller letters, In appreciation for her dedicated service in nurturing the talent and intellect of the students of Arts Bunker. Suzie didn’t know what Arts Bunker was, but she imagined this woman walking around a bright airy classroom in a billowy skirt shouting encouraging words to young people as they worked with paint and clay and charcoal. “You can’t see the whole picture. Only God sees the whole picture. We are but minnows in a stream, we tend to think all there is is this rock, this muddy bottom.” Suzie carefully drilled the plate and screwed it to the wood, polished it, then wrapped it in a foam sheet and put it under the bench by her purse.
When Suzie got home, there was no cat and no Grant and she took the plaque out of her purse and placed it on the mantel above the fake fireplace, next to the picture of her and Grant eating each other’s ice cream.
She looked closely at that picture—she didn’t remember ever really doing this before, just taking it for granted, feeling sure of what it represented and why it was there. A visual representation of their love. But now the way Grant was bent over her cone, like he would devour her entire arm, seemed terrifying. Like if he had his way he’d just keep on going.
The front door opened and she screamed.
“What? What’s wrong?” Grant asked, walking through the door with a bouquet of grocery store flowers in his hand. He smiled and held the flowers out to her, pink carnations and daisies and roses still tight pointed buds, wrapped in green cellophane. “What is it?”
The cat raced through his legs and crouched under the couch. Something was wrong with its face.
Suzie swallowed the scream, pushed it down as far as it would go, until it pressed against the top of her stomach, until she could feel it was securely fastened there.
“Nothing,” she said. “You just startled me.”
He picked up the plaque. “Oh, cool. Who is this?”
She took the flowers from him. “I don’t know.”
He ruffled her hair. “You’re weird. You know that?” The cat began to yowl. It was a funny sound, the sound a human might make as an exaggeration of joy. She tried not to look.
“What should we do with this cat?” he asked.
She put her face in the flowers and inhaled. It didn’t smell like anything, like Tuesday afternoons or water. Like their scent had been removed on purpose. The yowling started up again, and it felt aimed, a targeted plea. But what did it want from her? She didn’t know anything about this kind of thing. She picked up the bottle of glass cleaner from the coffee table and handed it over.
“Finish him off.”
Molly Reid‘s debut collection of stories, The Rapture Index: A Suburban Bestiary, won the seventh annual BOA Short Fiction Prize and was released May 14, 2019. Her stories have appeared on NPR and in the journals TriQuarterly, Crazyhorse, The Pinch, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Redivider, and The Normal School, among others. She recently received her PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati.
“Narrow Salvation” originally ran in TLR: The Lives of the Saints. This fantastic issue is sold out but you can still get a digital version here.
Read more about Molly Reid here.