response to writing prompt

“Who once was a pillar of strength to you? Write about him/her.”

[this is a fiction piece in the voice of the main character from my long-abandoned novel.]

Marcus was my pillar, always, after saving me from death. Not my own death, but the death that gathered all around me, the dead on the beach, the feeling of being the only person left in the world.

He gave me the rest of the universe, after my world collapsed, but more than that. He kept bringing me back into the real world, teasing me with knowledge, and the simple fact that I was a curious child. (Else why would I have been out in the woods when everyone else was in the village?) His encouragement meant that I didn’t simply survive, but that I thrived.

And I did thrive. I found topics that interested me, I found happiness in my own body out there in the jungle when people were too difficult for…

for anything, really. Except Marcus. I don’t know why, really, even now, why he took me in that way, took on the responsibility of becoming a parent to what was essentially a tragedy-stricken and technologically-backwards teenager. Just that overwhelming compassion for what others treated as subjects, pawns in some great experiment. Reboa, even though she was so angry with him for that childhood abandonment, had responded to his openness, his warmth. The sisters, who were always resistant to outsiders, fearful of being coopted, tenuous in the power they’d accumulated…they too saw his natural curiosity and compassion. Radla more than the rest, and that was where I lost him, finally.

At first it was almost like the crater, being in his house, the two of us quasi-alone with the world, the father and daughter. But as time went on, and no news, and no news, and never knowing anything of what had happened to those we left behind…. We both went numb at much the same time and in much the same way, and so neither of us had anyone to rescue us.

Except that I was young, with that sort of resiliance that feels a bit like insanity, and then, finally, there was the one I loved, not in the same way, but enough. For then, anyway. So I was able to crawl back out of despair.

Marcus just faded. And I stood back, looking at him from far away, especially after Ani was born, and he seemed to have crumbled. Like the walls of those houses by the shore, where we’d gone so long ago.