NO SECRET SO CLOSE excerpt #2, by Claire Dorotik

NO SECRET SO CLOSE is the story of a the most unthinkable betrayal humanly possible — at only 24 years old, Claire Dorotik’s father has been murdered, her mother arrested, and now, in a sinister twist of fate, Claire’s mother points the finger at Claire, accusing her of killing her own father. Battling the feelings of loss, abandonment, terror, and dissociation, and also learning about them, Claire struggles to stay in her master’s program for psychotherapy. However, when Claire’s brothers also betray her and side with her mother, Claire is left all alone to care for the 18 horses she and her mother owned. As the story unfolds, what is revealed is the horses’ amazing capacity for empathy in the face of human trauma, and the almost psychic ability to provide the author with what had been taken from her. Arising from these horrifying circumstances, the most unthinkable heroes — the horses — show Claire that life is still worth living.

Excerpt #2 from NO SECRET SO CLOSE:

When I entered the house, there was no warm smell. Only the faint odor of dog pee. My mother’s dog, Simone, hadn’t taken the news lightly. She was permanently planted on the couch. Her couch. She had done this before. Whenever my mom left her alone, she would retaliate. She’d claim the couch, and adorn it with whatever she wanted. Houseplants, her dog bowl, my mom’s underwear. Alex’s friends had tried to move her. But she snapped at them. Even though she wasn’t particularly a large dog, her bite was intimidating nonetheless. She was my mother’s negotiation. After years of breeding Irish Wolfhounds and discovering that an unmanaged pack of them became aggressive toward the neighbors pets, and even the foals a few times, she thought she should try something different. Simone was a Russian Wolfhound. They are lighter and supposedly more docile. Of course it wasn’t until the last of the Wolfhounds died, five small dogs and one foal with a slashed side later, that my mother thought it might be time for a change. One of those small dogs was mine. My little Rudy, a perfect little white Maltese that I’d got from a rescue. His previous owner had died, and I felt like I had won the lottery. I had always wanted a Maltese, but you never find them at the rescues. If you do, they don’t really look like a Maltese, and the rescues are just trying to pass them off as purebred to get them adopted. I had him only six months. But I should have never brought him home for Christmas with me. Merry Christmas. All I wanted was for my mom to stop the Wolfhounds from killing other dogs, or get rid of them. But my pleas, like many things, fell on deaf ears.

No matter how much I tried to like Simone, I couldn’t. Especially now. There were two options, be snapped at, our get the couch peed on. But Bonnie had taken sympathy on Simone and was trying to coerce her off the couch with food when I walked in.

“Don’t bother, not much works.” I paused to watch Bonnie stroking Simone’s head softly.

“She’s just scared.” She turned toward me and brushed her light brown hair off of her face with the back of her hand. She had the same hair as my mother. Same wavy curls, same cut. But Bonnie was shorter and more fit than my mother. Her face portrayed a youthfulness that my mother had lost after the car accident. But her eyes revealed an emptiness about her.

“She’s not the only one.” I slowly unzipped my jacket and put my gloves in the pocket.

“Poor Jane. We gotta get her out. I been in jail before, I know what it’s like.”  Bonnie had struggled with heroin for many years, before my mother suggested that she try a new program in Tucson, Arizona that treated all drug addictions with really high doses of Vitamin C. At the time, I remember Bonnie staying with us and taking lots of Vitamin C. It wasn’t until years later when I went to visit her by myself, that she disclosed her years of drug use, jail time and promiscuity.

The bail had been set at one million dollars, the highest ever for a murder charge in San Diego county.

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