Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 24: The Mirror

Lark (20s me): Mom!

Mom (Present me): Are you alright? You look upset.

Lark (upset): Of course I’m upset! What else are you hiding from me!?

Mom (confused): Sorry, I’m not following.

Lark (irate): You told me you’d give me the time I needed! You said I could come to my own decision!

Mom: Hold on, slow down. What are you talking about?

Lark: I’m talking about you leaving hints just lying around for me to find!

Mom: What hints? On the day you arrived here I told you outright that you’re a girl.

Lark: I remember. I still don’t believe it.

Mom: Haven’t you felt it lately? I’ve seen it in your eyes.

Lark: All I have is your word! You’ve been telling me I’m trans for weeks… I still don’t feel trans!

Mom: What would I gain by lying to myself?

Lark: I don’t know, control? Dominance? A sense of superiority over your past self?

Mom: We left motivations like that behind when we transitioned. Look, you live in my head. If you think I’m hiding something, dig through my memories!

(Lark hesitates, lost for words.)

Mom: You already found something. That’s what you meant by “hints,” isn’t it.

(Lark nods silently.)

Mom: Show me?

Lark (nervous): Okay.

(The space around the two of them shifts into a cluttered attic. Various bins and boxes are piled everywhere.)

Lark: Whoa!

Mom: You found it somewhere in here, right?

Lark (looking around): I did, yeah… How’d you know?

Mom: Welcome to the attic, where various bits of thoughts and memories are kept. If you found a stray thought lying around, chances are it was here.

Lark: I don’t think this place is from any of my memories… Maybe it was after my time?

Mom: It’s not a memory, it’s a mental construct. You can think of it like a daydream. So what did you find?

(I follow Lark as she weaves around boxes to a corner of the room. A tall rectangular object stands alone, covered in a sheet.)

Lark: This is it.

Mom: I don’t remember this sheet being here. Did you cover it?

Lark (upset): Of course I covered it! I couldn’t bear to look at it!

Mom: Look at what, Lark?

Lark: The portrait! Under that sheet is a portrait of me as a girl. You must have created it, and for what? To speed me along my transition? To convince me with images when your words weren’t enough?

Mom (serious): Let’s look at it together, Lark.

(Lark opens her mouth to argue, but I flash her an uncompromising look.)

Lark (reluctantly): Fine.

(Lark grips the edge of the sheet and whips it away to reveal a framed image of herself, standing tall and defiant. Lark only glances at it for a moment before tearing her eyes away and focusing on me.)

Lark: It’s like she’s mocking me.

Mom: What do you see, Lark?

Lark: I told you! I see myself, but as a girl. It’s like some alternate reality version of me where everything you’ve told me is actually true.

Mom: Why would that upset you?

Lark (exasperated): Because I’m nothing like her! She looks radiant and confident and so full of life! And she’s beautiful, with hair to die for and eyes I could lose myself in. It hurts to look at her.

Mom (probing): And that’s what *you* saw just now?

Lark (tearful): Yes! How many times do I have to say it!? She’s everything I wish I could be, but that I’m not. I just… I want to be her so badly, Mom. I want to but she just isn’t me.

Mom (calm): Lark. That isn’t a portrait. It’s a mirror.

(Lark stands stunned as she narrows her eyes at me, trying to find a lie written somewhere on my face. Seeing nothing but gentle honesty, she turns back to the image to regard herself carefully for the first time. Hesitantly, she raises her right hand — her reflection greets her timidly as she gives the mirror a little wave. In a moment Lark is on her knees, tears flooding her eyes. In the next moment I’m beside her, pulling her to my chest as she sobs uncontrollably.)

Lark (sobbing): How!? How did I not even notice myself? How could I not see?

Mom (tearfully smiling): Because we’re trans, dearest. Sometimes we have trouble seeing ourselves in the mirror.

(Lark and I sit with each other for a long time, Lark crying her eyes out as she stares in fascination at her reflection. Her tears etch hot rivers into her cheeks as they slide past the largest grin she has ever worn.)