Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 39: Making Connections

(I’m sitting at a computer, chatting away. Libra arrives from elsewhere.)

Libra (College me): Hey Mom!

Mom (Present me): Hello Daphne.

Libra: What are you up to? Chatting with your good friend again?

Mom: Mmhmm.

Libra (pensive): You know, there’s something that’s still bothering me about the last time…

(I stop typing and turn to Libra with a worried look.)

Mom: Your mask hasn’t come back again, has it?

Libra (reassuring): No, nothing like that! Don’t worry, I think we got rid of it for good.

(I smile at Libra and turn back to the computer.)

Libra: It was something else about that conversation — Something we didn’t really get the chance to discuss.

Mom: What’s that?

Libra: That conversation felt a lot like conversations we used to have with our friends, but it somehow felt different. More… Full.

Mom: Very full — it was satisfying on levels that I didn’t know existed before. But I thought I talked about that last time.

Libra (uneasy): You did. I didn’t — I was… Um…

Mom (apologetic): Oh, right. I’m sorry.

Libra: It’s okay, but I want to understand this a little better. Back then, it felt just like the empty conversations we used to have. We were even sharing bits and pieces of our passions back and forth, just like we used to.

Mom: Superficially I imagine those conversations look very similar. But I can relate to my friend on an emotional level too, which I couldn’t do back in college. It’s clear that both of us are learning about each other, understanding each other, communicating with each other.

Libra: We weren’t communicating in college?

Mom: Not really, no. Back then we were trying to impress each other, or trying to dominate the conversation. We might have learned a little about the things our friends were talking about, but none of us were talking about ourselves.

Libra: You know, it could just mean we didn’t know how to connect with people at all back then. We couldn’t form emotional bonds, so we just didn’t pick up on it.

Mom: I’m sure we didn’t, but I’ve talked with some of those friends since then, and our conversations have the same quality. Even when I’m part of the conversation, my old friends can’t seem to receive my emotions. I left that conversation feeling empty; sad that I couldn’t reconnect in a meaningful way.

Libra (thoughtful): And this connection with your friend feels meaningful?

Mom: Very much so. I’m connecting to her in ways that I’ve never connected to anyone before. Apart from my partner, I suppose.

Libra (timid): You’ve never connected to anyone else that way? Does that… include us?

Mom: That’s different. You’re part of me, as are the rest of my inner children. You aren’t actually separate people.

Libra: It probably looks like we are to our readers — like we’re a plural system.

Mom: Granted, but that’s the magic of fiction. It’s easier for me to present these ideas in conversation, and I presume it’s easier to digest them that way too. That doesn’t mean you or the other girls have independent thought or executive function. I’m pretty sure I’m not plural.

Libra: Okay, fine. But you could still take the time to connect with us — whatever that means for you on the other side of this fictive looking glass.

Mom (pensive): You know, I think you’re onto something. I’ve spent a month now focusing on how I relate to other people, and while I think that work was valuable, I don’t feel any closer to your older sister. Maybe I need to turn that attention inward and focus on how I relate to myself — how I relate to all of you.

Libra: I think that’s worth exploring, even if it doesn’t lead us any closer to my sister.

Mom: Okay then, it’s decided. We’re going to focus on each other for a while. Do you want to tell the other girls?

Libra (smiling): Sure, I’ll let them know. Bye for now, Mom!

Mom (smiling back): See you later, Daphne.