Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 70: House Chores

(As I step into the apartment where I’ve lived for years with my partner, a young woman’s voice humming a lilting tune drifts through the rooms to me. I peek through to the kitchen to see Ivy wearing a green skater dress, gliding around the room doing simple chores, humming to herself.)

Mom (Me): You look lovely today, dear.

(Ivy turns to smile at me.)

Ivy (The Companion): Why thank you, Mother. To what do I owe this visit?

Mom: I just thought I’d check up on you. It’s nice to see you in such high spirits.

Ivy: I have you to thank for that. Who would have thought just being alive would feel like such a rush?

Mom: Is gliding around the apartment really so enriching?

Ivy: As a girl it is! Every moment as a girl is enriching. Honestly, times like these are some of the best; not that I mind chatting with other girls or taking cute selfies or shopping for femme clothing. But when I’m left to myself and time stretches out like a sleepy cat, I can turn my mind to just existing as a girl, and it’s wonderful.

Mom (smiling): That sounds lovely.

Ivy: It *is* lovely. You should know, after all — you actually do it in real life; I’m just reliving your experience.

Mom (chuckling): I suppose that’s true. Seeing my reflection staring back at me in the mirror, looking down and seeing my chest in front of me, feeling how my skirt sweeps along my legs as I walk… All of them are little reminders of who we are and how far we’ve come.

Ivy: And those reminders are *always* there with us. Even when we’re just doing house chores and whatnot.

Mom: True enough! There’s something about tidying a room that just feels good… Or doing the dishes and taking note of my painted nails as I scrub food out of a pot.

Ivy (snickering): Let’s not make life sound *too* good — We don’t want to give people the impression that we actually like house chores now.

Mom (hesitant): Well… I don’t hate them…

Ivy (surprised): Wait, really? But we’ve always hated house chores! It feels like repetitive busywork that we’ll never be completely free of. We’d be so much better off if it could just be automated away somehow.

Mom: There’s more to it than that now, Ivy. I think this is something you can appreciate as The Companion… Before transition we only saw chores as busywork, right? It was time spent doing things we’d rather not do; time we wished we could spend elsewhere.

Ivy: Right, but I remember growing past that at least — at some point we recognized that any work we didn’t do was work our partner would have to do, and in order to keep things fair we’d have to do our share of chores too.

Mom: Seems obvious now, but I remember that realization was a big deal at the time.

Ivy: It was, but it didn’t mean that we *liked* doing the chores, just that we had more will to push through them.

Mom: After transition we went through another change, because doing our chores or making our living space feel nice to live in doesn’t just save someone else work, it’s making life better for them. It’s a form of care, and once we’re able to form an intimate connection with our partner, caring for her is something we find pleasurable. It’s a way for us to show our love.

Ivy (amazed): Huh. I hadn’t thought about it like that.

Mom: No, but I’ll bet part of you already *feels* it, whether or not you realize it.

Ivy (grinning): Just one more reason to love being a girl, I guess.

(I smile along with Ivy for a moment, but my smile soon turns to a laugh under my breath.)

Ivy (curious): What are you snickering at?

Mom (chuckling): Just something I remembered… Something about reveling in being a girl, though it’s not really related to chores.

Ivy: Well now you *have* to tell me.

Mom: Hah, I guess. This was a little after your time, but do you know how I used to take my shirt off?

Ivy: I would always pull it up from the neck; how did you do it?

Mom: See, our partner eventually told us a better way to remove a T-shirt — you cross your arms, grab the shirt at the hem, and then lift the shirt off and uncross your arms in one smooth motion. Your shirt comes off inside out, which is how you’d want to wash it anyways.

Ivy: That is a better way to remove a shirt, but I can’t help but notice it’s also the “girly” way to remove a shirt.

Mom (smiling): So it is. And for months, every night I’d take my shirt off like that and feel a tiny spark of joy that I couldn’t fully appreciate, just from doing something the way a girl would do it.

Ivy: I guess that’s why I love those little moments — chores or no chores. My joy doesn’t have to be secret anymore, and those little details are with me forever now.

Mom: So they are. Just like *you’re* with *me* forever now.

Ivy (blushing): Aww, thanks Mom.