The look of Lina

The look of Lina

Lina does not want you to take her picture.

Lina. Does NOT. Want YOU. To take her PICTURE.

This is not a case of the fairy who thinks she is an oafish warty orc. (We sang her One Direction’s “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” just in case. Free advice: Lina does NOT. Want YOU. To sing BOY BANDS.)

This is not a case of the Botticelli who covers her plush belly with a sun hat.

This is a cat who is bored with being beautiful.

What good are eyes like twin Neptunes if you are orbiting the abyss? Lina’s loveliness could not lasso her off the “time-stamped list” at a public shelter.

What good is a coat of velvet if no one takes you in their arms? Lina’s splendor could not hail a cab home.

What good is being “good” in the eyes of the world, if at the end of the dance you are nobody’s girl?

So Lina scrubbed off her blush and threw her pink party dress in the corner of her small steel cage. She threw on sweatpants and threw the blues at all who would behold her. Her file was already on fire with FIV; why not add aerobic aggression and acrobatic anguish?

But the world’s wildfires can be coaxed into candles at Tabby’s Place. Birthday candles. FIV and ferocity were not the end, but the beginning. Lina did not know where to look as lively lunatics sang.

Lina looks away when we look too long in her direction, burned by eyes that admire for an instant. She has not heard that bands of angels joined digital hands to save her, sight unseen. She would narrow her Neptunes if we explained that it was not her beauty, but her very breath, that made her worthy in this world.

But we can’t blame the beauty who bursts into residual wrath without warning. Tabby’s Place is not a world that can be seen with earth’s sandy eyes. We are a sovereign nation in violation of all the regular rules. We do not dose devotion in teaspoons over time. We will not consider conditions on compassion. We can no sooner lessen our love for the livid than Lina can thin her bravery to broth.

This is not how the world works. There is earning and churning out there, logic and lists of must-haves and deal-breakers. The world tests the weight of FIV in its hand. Is the cat friendly? Take off a few ounces. Does she refuse to be picked up? Throw on five pounds. How disruptive are her needs? Nobody needs an extra burden, no matter how beautiful.

The world’s arms tire easily. Tabby’s Place is no less human. But our arms are linked, stubborn as vines, sturdy as the tree of life. Any one of us will stumble twelve times today. But the beauty of Tabby’s Place is that no one of us is “anyone.” We are only as lovely as the fullness of “everyone.”

Even the beautiful ones who have bitten and been bitten.

Lina winces at the camera flash, but she is learning to live in the light. She is reading all the books of this world, and she cannot find the word “burden” in a single volume. Her knapsack of need was once heavy as a planet. She has become the center of the universe. It will take time for her eyes to adjust. It will take time to trust that our eyes will not turn away.

She will have all the light years she needs.

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