Vivian wasn’t oblivious to the symbolism of Easter. If the rabbit imagery didn’t hit you over the head with the words “propagate” and “fertility,” then the eggs certainly would. And yeah, Vivian could understand that it all pertained to resurrection and rebirth—whatever—but why did Christian folk have to hit everyone else over the head with it? Can you imagine if one did the same with their gay pride or Black Lives Matter “paraphernalia” in a conservative community? Hell, any community, really, that isn’t a major city. It would be met with absolute contempt. And yet here Vivian was, forced to walk through the various outdoor shopping centers (sometimes referred to as “strip malls”) on the Sunday in question with a bombardment of these fertility symbols as continuously touted by straight culture. Not that Vivian herself wasn’t straight, but she was of the variety vexed by her own kind.
Passing by a table display in front of one of the shops, just trying not to think about eggs or (re)birth, Vivian noted that there was an array of books on it with a sign that indicated, “Please take one for free, courtesy of Barnes & Noble.” As Vivian was soon to learn, one of the last remaining booksellers (at least of a “juggernaut” persuasion) had seen fit to donate this “bounty” to a small business they shared retail space with in the shopping center. The catch being, according to the shop owner, that the books were only for children. Admittedly, Vivian could see that might be the intended audience, based on titles like 101 Dalmatians (the Little Golden Book edition) and Dr. Seuss’ scandalously named Hop on Pop. Even so, it didn’t mean she wasn’t interested. That the perpetual child inside wasn’t clamoring to own a copy of some of these. Or one, per the sign’s instruction. And the longer she stared at the sign (which made no indication of a “Children Only” policy) to ensure she was reading it correctly, the more time she gave to the store’s proprietor to emerge and stare at her as though she was a demonic presence sullying the space.
Seeing the flash of disapproval in her eyes, Vivian tried to diffuse the tension with politeness by asking, “Are you allowed to take one?”
She then laid into her spiel about Barnes & Noble’s “generosity on Easter,” and then added, “But they’re for children only. As you might be able to tell.”
Vivian felt condescended and slighted. Discriminated against for not being the very thing she hated most of all. In point of fact, she might have realized that very day that one of the many reasons (of which there was an arsenal to choose from) she probably loathed kids so much was because they always got preferential treatment. At a time in their lives when they least deserved it. It was almost as though just because the slate was clean for them and they hadn’t yet had the chance to fuck things up like adults and reveal their true Lord of the Flies nature, they were given the benefit of the doubt. All solely because their brain hadn’t yet formed fully enough so as to no longer justify their uncouth behavior. Which would, of course, continue well into senility.
Well, Vivian wasn’t going to stand for it. Though she did briefly stifle her rage by walking away to cool off. She always figured that, in these scenarios, it was best to determine how angry you really were by allowing enough time to pass in order to assess the matter with a clear head. After getting a coffee, sitting in front of the café until she was finished and still finding that she was fuming over the woman’s ageism and suppression, Vivian decided she was going to do something about it. Her resolve to return to the store and stand up for herself was further fueled when she caught sight of a number of adults taking books from the table. With no children in sight. The blatant hypocrisy and bias of it all!
Approaching the table once more, as the woman stood at the threshold of the entrance to the shop, she proceeded to try to take one again. Maybe the woman wouldn’t even remember her (though that was unlikely, considering Vivian was wearing a hat that said Public Enemy on it). Much to her dismay, the woman called out, “Excuse me! I told you those were only for kids.”
Vivian snapped back, “What about all those adults that just took some?”
“They have children.”
“So do I,” Vivian lied.
The woman scoffed, “No you don’t.”
“How would you know?”
“A person like you isn’t capable of caring for others.”
Vivian snickered. “You think even half the parents on this planet are? That doesn’t mean I can’t have kids. And I’m rather insulted by the implications of your statement.”
“Yeah. I fucking am. Now either you ‘let’ me take a book the way you have everyone else who’s passed by here, or I report you for discrimination.”
The woman laughed. “And who are you going to report me to?”
“I’ll file a complaint, don’t worry.”
“Go ahead. See how far it gets you. I’m a respected business owner—who actually has children—and you’re… a public enemy. Just as you describe it.”
It was at this moment that Vivian was truly reaching her breaking point. “Do you? Have children? Because it’s honestly impossible to imagine that a fetus would be able to survive in your hostile womb.”
Out of nowhere, the woman proceeded to bawl uncontrollably. Vivian rolled her eyes, “Oh for fuck’s sake, like you didn’t say shit to me, too. What’s the problem?”
She called out to someone else in the store. “Julia! Bring me my handkerchief.”
It was then that Julia, someone as trollish as this sobbing woman—whose name Vivian learned was Enid when Julia said, “Here you go, Enid”—thrust an embroidered-with-flowers hankie in Enid’s face. “I’ll have you know, what you said was highly insensitive. It just so happens that what I mean when I say I ‘have children’ is that my eggs are frozen. And they’re all just waiting to be born. I simply haven’t found the right… accommodator yet.”
It was then that Vivian couldn’t control herself any longer. She had to burst out laughing. “Are you fucking serious? You were just passing all that judgment on me for not seeming like ‘the type’ to have kids, and you don’t even fucking have them yourself? ‘Miss Matriarch’ over here, are you? The fucking ‘decider’ of which adult should and should not get to choose a book for their would-be spawn?” Enid was frozen like her eggs as Vivian continued on her tirade. “And another thing: these books aren’t even kosher to give to kids anymore. You wanna give an impressionable child a book like Hop on fucking Pop? What the fuck are you thinking? Do you know how many pedophiles there are in this town passing themselves off as ‘good fathers’? You need to fucking check yourself, bitch. And I am fucking taking a book.” Which is exactly what Vivian did just before she made a grand sweeping gesture with both arms and knocked all the rest of the literature off the table.
Sauntering away confidently and smiling to herself, she turned back to see that Enid still appeared to be in a state of catatonia over the whole exchange. It was then that Vivian took it upon herself to deliver the coup de grâce: “And another thing! Don’t ever fucking unfreeze your eggs! Do a goddamn favor for the rest of us!” As it turned out, Easter and the eggs associated with it took on a new meaning to Vivian that day.