Segment: Roanoke

The tiny mouth opened, and from the little, three year-old lungs came a horrifying scream of terror, for no other reason than she’d recently discovered that she could make her body produce a sound that would attract every eye in the room to her tiny, smiling face. The attention came quickly in the form of her mother, and the steely glances of several patients waiting in the waiting room. “Don’t do that, honey,” her mother chided, half-heartedly. She knew that what a three year-old wants, a three year old gets.

Another scream came from her lungs, this one louder than the last, almost deeper and far more gutteral. Both mother and daughter’s faces flushed crimson; the daughter from the scream being louder than she’d ever screamed before, the mother from embarassment, more embarassed than she’d ever been.

Lilac could and would point to this moment as one in a litany of moments filed away in her memory banks on why her uterus would be barren for the rest of her days, so long as she had a say in the matter. And since it was her uterus in her body, that should be a simple choice, no matter the guilt her mother laid at her feet.

“Why not have a baby?” Doreen Summers would ask, in her matter-of-fact manner. “You’re not doing anything, and you could use the responsibility.”

“I don’t even have a boyfriend, Mother,” Lilac would counter, rolling her eyes. She only called her “Mother” when she annoyed her, which was often.

“That doesn’t stop people, dear.”

“Mother.”

“What? Can you blame me for wanting a grandchild?”

“Yes. I’m not interested in children. If I could give birth to an eighteen year old with a job, I’d do it.”

“Lilac.”

“Mother?” Lilac would answer, batting her eyes at her mother.

“How would you carry a child in your womb for eighteen years?” Despite Doreen’s intelligence, simple figures of speech were lost on her. The first time Lilac called something ‘the bomb’, she called the police.

“Lots of yoga, and a really big cork?” Lilac asked, mocking her mother’s matter-of-fact tone.

“Is this another one of your jokes?” Doreen asked unflinchingly.

“No. I could definitely fit a cork up there.”

“LILAC!” Doreen scolded.

“MOTHER!” Lilac mocked.

“Do not talk to me about things like that! That’s disgusting!”

“You’re putting theoretical babies into my hurt locker, Mother. A cork is one hundreth the size, and it can’t get me pregnant.”

Doreen’s fingers rubbed her temples as she opened and closed her jaws, rolling her eyes into the back of her head. She didn’t know why her simple questions ended up this way, as she turned and walked out of the room, leaving Lilac Summers outside of her own head, where the little girl continued to scream.

“Not even if he’s rich,” Lilac said, popping in her earbuds, and pressing play.

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