[MAJESTIC AUTUMN LILIES]

I have no idea what this trash is supposed to be. Another gem I dug up from my decade-old documents folder. Abandoned. 375 words.

Once, in a land very different from ours(1), a girl lived in a normal-sized house on a normal street. The girl’s mother and father told her that she could be anything at all when she grew up and became a woman.

“Lily, when you grow up, you can be anything at all!” said Lily’s mother one night, after their traditional bedtime story.

“What if when I grow up, I want to be something bad? Or what if I want to become something insignificant?” The girl smiled at her mother mischievously. “What if I want to become a horse caretaker, or a shopgirl, or…or even bilge cleaner!”

The mother, being tired from a day spent wasting her husband’s money on frivolous pursuits (up to and including two hours of handbag shopping in Ipswich and three hours at the salon), assured her daughter that any and all pursuits she chose to dedicate herself to would be worthy of her time.

“My dear,” she had said, “I assure you that whatever you grow up to be, you will be the very best at it.”

And so, twelve years later to the day, young Lily, the girl whose mother assured her that any dream was a noble one, became not-so-young Lily, the woman who often found herself sandwiched betwixt a mattress of medium thickness and a man of maximum thickness.

When Lily, whose mother promised her a grand life of fulfillment, told that very same mother of her chosen ambitions, she was greeted with a slammed door, a sizable lump on her scalp, and a one-way train ticket back to the city.

Three years after that encounter, Lily thought, while a man of mediocrity was pleasantly going about his business, that she ought to contact her mother to ascertain if the woman’s opinion had shifted. But she never got the chance.

(1) Doctor Sigmund Nostrov of the Royal Prussian Academy of the Sciences once conjectured that our worlds are, in fact, not so dissimilar. Slightly less than one full day following the publication of his ideas, he was found bludgeoned to death in his home office by his landlady, one Mrs. Bovington. Since, precisely zero members of the academic field have posited similar theories. The point is considered moot.

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