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Renaissance - Lilian McCarthy

I spend a lot of time in bed with my cat. I am blessed to see the ocean from my bedroom window, so I never feel too trapped or isolated. I imagine all the sea creatures going about their days, eating, bumping into each other, cannibalizing, sleeping. My cat loves eating canned tuna–I suppose he loves the sea too.

Leaving my house is difficult on most days, impossible on some. It’s okay, I tell myself, I’ll never be alone. Sometimes I even talk to my gut bacteria–perhaps they know me best. Mostly I talk to my cat, and he occasionally responds, which makes me smile. I have also shouted to the bass, blue crabs, great whites, and the tangles of seaweed, lady slippers, exoskeletons, and isopods marking the high tide line. Every year, the line moves closer to my stony walls.

I am going to die soon. I don’t know how to explain this to my cat. I have no human acquaintances who can adopt him. But I cannot bear the thought of taking him with me. But I know this. When I can tell I’m going, I will gather my energy one last time to leave the house. Perhaps I’ll leave the doors open so he can run free–he’s always trying to get outside anyway, my wild baby. I haven’t decided what to wear yet, but I know I will go down to the shore, barefoot. I have been collecting rocks since childhood and as often as I can, I bring handfuls down to a growing pile in the dunes, coated in beach grass. I will fill whatever pockets I have with my lifetime of stones and lay in the sand at low tide. By then I will be nearly unconscious with fatigue, so I will barely feel the sea wear away at me. I hope seaweed drapes over me as nymphlike jewelry.

I’ve never wanted to be human. Tonight, I will dream about being underwater, looking up, and seeing rays of sun through the sea’s prismatic waves.


Bio:

Lilian McCarthy (she/they) is a disabled, queer, nonbinary woman who lives in Boston, MA and Dublin, Ireland. She is a Masters candidate in Comparative Literature at Trinity College Dublin. She enjoys fabric arts, painting, playing with animals, writing, and translating French and Italian work.

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