Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 53: Old Apartment

(Ivy is standing in the dining room of a one bedroom apartment, looking in at the kitchen. A small table rests in the center of the kitchen, whereas the tableless dining room is used as a family/rec room. She appears to be contemplating something as I approach from behind.)

Mom (Me): Visiting the old apartment, I see.

Ivy (The Companion): Oh, hey Mom. Yeah, I remember when we first moved here — we were moving in with our girlfriend. I remember how exciting it felt at the time.

Mom: It felt pretty taboo, didn’t it? We’d grown up hearing that people who cohabitate before marriage were more likely to divorce later in life. But we weren’t like most people; we were going to beat the odds.

Ivy (snickering): Yeah. We’ve bucked the odds in more ways than one then, haven’t we?

Mom (smiling): Hah, I suppose so. Most married couples don’t have a partner transition years into their marriage.

Ivy: And yet, we’ve managed to stay together.

Mom: So far, anyways.

(Ivy takes a step back from the kitchen and turns to look into the dining room, where desks rest in two corners of the room while a third corner sports a pair of bookcases. Ivy stares around at things, still in a pensive mood.)

Ivy: We don’t really seem to have many memories of this place, do we?

Mom: Of this apartment? We were only here for a couple of years.

Ivy: That’s a long time though.

(Ivy takes a step into the room and points at a desk with a computer resting on the surface.)

Ivy: I remember sitting at that desk playing computer games online… I did a lot of that, I suppose.

Mom: Yes, quite a bit. What else do you remember?

Ivy: I remember… I remember learning what it was like to live with someone whose opinion really matters to you.

Mom: That was a new experience. We’d lived with roommates before, and it’s not like you want your roommates to be angry at you, but we weren’t going to bend over backwards to accommodate them either.

Ivy: Whereas a girlfriend or a partner — it’s different living with someone you love. You really want them to be happy. All of a sudden you can spend all sorts of time with them, since you’re around them all the time… That was new too.

Mom: It definitely took some getting used to. Before moving in here, we’d chat with our partner online, but we’d only see them sometimes. She’d visit me or I’d visit her, and we’d have nights in. Occasionally we’d have a night out. It was kind of special.

Ivy: Once we moved in together, that special feeling was lost. There wasn’t any anticipation anymore. And… We discovered we weren’t as compatible as we expected.

Mom: In some ways. In most ways we were a good fit. We wouldn’t have gotten married otherwise.

Ivy: Granted… We were both great communicators, and we were both committed to each other, and we had similar values.

Mom: We still do. It’s a big part of why we’re still together.

Ivy: But romantically we’re a bit of an awkward fit. And sexually things just got more and more difficult once we lived together.

Mom (sad): Yes… Yes they did.

Ivy (curious): Mom… I know you told me to review your memories in order, but I have to know. How did you solve our issues with sexuality?

Mom (timid): Ah, I… I didn’t.

Ivy (shocked): You didn’t? I kind of assumed that was related to our transition somehow — that relating to our partner would have been easier now that we both know we’re women.

Mom: It is! In most other contexts it helps a lot. Sexuality… It’s complicated.

(Ivy contemplates my answer for several seconds.)

Ivy: That’s… Disappointing.

Mom: I’m sorry.

Ivy: You… You don’t have to apologize to me; I didn’t figure it out either. I guess it just means we need more time. Or a new approach — or something. 

Mom (uneasy): Something… I guess we do. I wanted to mention something else while you’re here.

Ivy: What’s that?

Mom: Enmeshment. This is where we start to become enmeshed with our partner.

Ivy: What’s enmeshment?

Mom: It’s blending into another person at a deep level — sort of becoming a single entity. Feeling like you shouldn’t go out unless your partner goes too, or like you shouldn’t make any decisions without including your partner…

Ivy: Hang on, isn’t that what love is? Blending together with your partner? Wanting to bring your partner into your life is only natural, and consulting your partner on decisions is only polite.

Mom: To a degree. But it’s healthy to have boundaries between the two of you. It helps define you both as distinct individuals. You and your partner didn’t really have boundaries like that.

Ivy: I guess that’s true — I mean, if you break up later, that break up is cleaner if you have those boundaries from the beginning. But we didn’t break up; we got married. Growing together is only natural — it would be weird to avoid getting closer.

Mom: But there’s a difference between getting closer and becoming enmeshed; growing together to the point where you become codependent.

Ivy: I’m sorry Mom, I don’t understand what you’re driving at.

Mom: No… You didn’t back then either. Look, I don’t want you to get stuck on this, so early in the process. We’ll talk about enmeshment more in the future, okay? In the meantime, I’ll leave you to relive your old memories.

Ivy: Okay Mom… See you later.