Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 124: Willow Picnic

(I’m walking slowly along a paved path in a city park. The sun is shining, the wind is a gentle breeze, and my family walks along the path around me in a loose group. All of us are taking our time and enjoying the inviting weather.)

Bloom (The Survivor): Finally, Spring weather! It’s about time!

Mom (Me): About time indeed… It’s already May. I’m glad the days have finally settled into a comfortable warmth.

Lark (The Dreamer): Don’t get used to it! This is The Midwest, after all… We’ll be drenched in Summer’s heat before you know it.

Bloom: Ugh, don’t remind me.

(We come across a huge, sprawling willow tree growing beside the path. Bloom flashes a mischievous grin and immediately bolts for the tree.)

Bloom (determined): Last one up is a rotten egg! C’mon, sis!

Libra (The Friend): What? Oh, uh, I’m coming…

(As Libra starts over to the tree, Bloom has already scrambled halfway up the trunk, eager to find a comfortable spot among its branches. Libra wears a distant look, as though she’s just come out of a daze.)

Mom (concerned): Libra, are you feeling alright? You don’t look like you’re quite with us.

Libra (slowly): I’m fine… I just have a lot on my mind, sorry.

Twyla (The Parent): Hey, why don’t we set up here beneath the tree? It’s a nice spot, and it’ll give Libra some time to process… Whatever she’s struggling with.

Mom: That’s a great idea, Twyla. This should only take me a few moments.

(I walk around the tree, inspecting the ground for a suitable spot. By now Bloom has perched in the branches and found a comfortable seat, and Libra lays her hands on the willow tree, planning her ascent. Ivy walks up beside Twyla to engage her in conversation.)

Ivy (The Companion): So how does it feel, participating in your first seasonal celebration?

Twyla (pensive): It’s nice; it feels good to get out and enjoy the weather. I mean… I guess we can be “out” whenever we want here, huh? And it’s not like we really have an “in” to retreat to either.

Ivy: That’s true… I admit it would be nice to have an “in” to call home, rather than just marking off some space in the formless void.

Lark (pouty): Aww, what’s wrong with the formless void? All the best places start as formless voids.

Ivy: Maybe for you, Dreamer. The rest of us are more grounded in reality, and I think we’d feel better with a persistent home. What do you think, Aura?

Aura (The Professional): I’d love a place to call home; a comfy place to work on programming projects that I can arrange the way I like. I think I’d get a lot out of a space like that.

Lark: That’s a fair point too. We should talk to Mom about it… There’s no harm in asking, anyways.

Twyla: Maybe another time though… I think Libra has been trying to find a way to ask Daphne about something; I don’t want to get in her way.

Mom (loudly): Okay girls, come and get it!

(Having found a suitable spot, I’ve conjured a picnic bench underneath the large willow tree and set it with all manner of picnic foods. The older girls make their way over while Bloom pouts in the tree beside Libra.)

Bloom (pouty): Aww, I just got up here!

Mom (approaching): You can stay if you like; I’ll make you a plate. What do you want?

Bloom (happy): Thanks Mom! I want some summer sausage and some chips…

Mom (insistent): And some fruit?

Bloom (embarrassed): Okay, yeah, fruit too.

Mom: What about you, Libra? What should I get you?

Libra (distant): Oh, uh… I’m not really hungry…

Mom (worried): Sweetheart, what’s bothering you? Is it something you can tell me about?

(Libra looks up to take in her surroundings for what might be the first time today. The older girls are all sitting at the picnic table, oblivious to the conversation here in the willow tree. After nervously pondering her situation for a moment, Libra gathers her courage and speaks up.)

Libra: Mom, do you remember when you gave Bloom and I nicknames?

Mom: Of course. Goodness that was a long time ago… Scene 6, if memory serves.

Libra: Yeah… Right after you found me and realized you needed a way to tell me apart from Bloom.

Mom (smiling): And now I have six daughters to keep straight.

(Libra smiles appreciatively, but her smile soon fades. I wait patiently while Libra gathers her courage again.)

Libra: Do you remember what you said at the end of that scene?

Mom: Of course—If your nicknames didn’t fit you, we would change them. “As often as we need to, as many times as we want”

Libra (hesitant): Yeah. I… I don’t think my nickname fits me anymore.

Mom (surprised): Oh! That feels a little sudden.

Libra: To you, maybe. It’s been on my mind for a while.

Mom (deferential): That’s… Fair. Do you want to talk about it?

Libra: I mean, “Libra” means “book,” right? Back when you gave me that name, I was defined by my age. I was the college girl, curious and eager. I was on my own for the first time, and I was coming to terms with that.

Mom: You’re still curious and eager, dearest.

Libra: I’m still your college girl too… But I’m not just a college girl.

Bloom: That feels familiar. I’m not just a high school girl, either. We’ve all grown beyond the archetypes you originally imagined for us.

Mom: That was always the point, so I’m happy it’s gone well. So what have you become?

Libra (shy): I think you have some idea…

Mom (gentle): I do, but I think it’s worthwhile to hear you say it.

Libra: I have all your memories, the experience of forty years of life. I can remember what it was like to become independent for the first time, but it’s not the whole of who I am. Now I’m The Friend, and I have friends and a personality of my own, and I don’t feel like a book-ish name really fits me anymore. I want a more… Friendly name, I guess?

Mom (agreeable): Okay. What is a friendly name, exactly?

Libra: You know, a name that sort of just feels warm. A name where thinking “oh yeah, my friend ‘some name’” feels natural.

Bloom (snarky): Like Bloom.

Libra (playful): But not Bloom, you little dork.

Mom: If you’ve been thinking about this for a while… I suppose you have something in mind?

Libra (thoughtful): Yeah. I thought for a while, and I used a random name generator to come up with ideas… I kept coming back to Katherine. But like, abbreviated forms.

Mom: Katherine has a certain warmth to it, I agree… Something like Kate, then?

Kay (careful): Not Kate… But Kay, I think? Kay feels so warm, like a little space heater in my chest. I think… I think I’m Kay.

Mom (happy): Kay. That’s a beautiful name, sweetheart. It’s wonderful to meet you again, Kay.

(A huge smile slowly spreads over Kay’s face as she hears her name aloud. A small round of applause rises from the picnic table, where Kay’s sisters are all cheering her new name.)

Lark: Congratulations Kay!

Twyla: I’m so happy for you, Kay.

Ivy: Great work, Kay!

Aura: I’m proud to be your sister, Kay.

Kay (smiling): Thanks everyone. Mom, could you make a plate for me too?

Mom: Of course, Kay.

Kay (snarky): I want more vegetables than my little sister though.

Bloom (dramatic): Ugh, you’re such a pain.

Mom (smiling): I’ll be back in a moment.

(As I step away from the tree to make plates for my daughters, Bloom scoots over to lean against her older sister.)

Bloom (sincere): I’m proud of you too, dork. I love you, Kay.

Kay (happy): I love you too, sis.