Short Story: On Cosmology, by Róisín O’Donell

Hennessy New Irish Writing – August’s winning story: A lecturer in astrophysics wonders about the ‘gooey, alien-like creature’ which may be growing inside her

A three-week old foetus, according to Google Images, is a gooey alien-like creature, soft as an oyster. If that in any way resembles you, could you please give me a sign or something? I know it’s too early for you to kick, unless you are a super-advanced space-age zygote. But if you could just give me some symptoms, then I’d know for sure. Zygote is a new word for me. I only learnt it yesterday, when I googled “three weeks pregnant”.

The early December air is festering with decaying leaves, the colours of a smashed-up sunset. A late autumn this year, they said on NewsTalk when I was driving to work this morning, because of the record-breaking heat this summer, which has caused abnormally high sugar levels in the leaves. The Christmas tree in Trinity front square has blown over and lies in a sparkling heap. I feel like Christmas is happening in another solar system from where I am. For three weeks, all I’ve thought about is you.

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