The Beansidhe does a lot of
wailing during the crossing.
Not just for her own
family, and insofar as a creature of her nature can feel guilt,
she feels guilty. She is the O'Meara Beansidhe; in all the years
of her existence she has cried O'Meara deaths and O'Meara deaths
alone. But the grief is too much, death crammed upon death, and
she wails for Mary Sullivan's baby just as loudly as she wails
for James O'Meara, whose mother's death in childbirth she wailed
for sixty-seven years ago. It is James O'Meara's coat she
takes, though, after his daughter has laid him out; in its inside pocket
is the acorn he picked up as he was leaving the dooryard of his
house for the last time. He didn't tell his daughter about it,
didn't tell his pinch-faced grandchildren. He didn't tell the Beansidhe, either, but she knew.
She wraps his coat around
her and wails for all the death she feels coming. For all the
dead who soon will be.
The immigrants huddle
together in the lower decks and even those with the Sight
pretend they cannot hear her.
If a Beansidhe can hate,
she hates them. Hates them for leaving Ireland, hates them for
dragging her with them. Hates their pain, her addiction and
poison, that lured her onto this terrible floating hulk so like
the emptied-out carapace of a dead beetle. Hates them for
holding her here with their grief, with the dying of their
dreams. And she hates them most because a Beansidhe should not
hate; they are changing her, making her less than she was. It is
a Beansidhe's nature to cry death, not to grieve. Not to
care. And yet she cannot seem to stop caring, now that she
has started, as if James O'Meara's acorn has been planted in her
own heart and has started to sprout.
Beansidhes do not sleep;
neither do they dream. She curls up in a corner, in the reek of
the bilge and the rats, tasting salt, tasting death, and pillows
her head on James O'Meara's ragged coat. In the pocket of the
coat, where she can sneak her hand under and touch it, is the
acorn. James O'Meara's acorn. James O'Meara's dream.
And when she reaches
America, although it is against her nature, she will plant it