A stove is a stove is a stove. Black or white. Grey or green.
Christina is herself. Chris or Tina. Or by any other name.

When Christina was born it was a quarter past 2. Her parents had an androgynous name picked out, in case the baby was born a boy, or in case it was born a girl. That name was Jesse. When the baby slipped out after 18 hours of pain, Mother shouted, “Christina!” The name Christina means Follower of Christ. Mother did not know this. Neither did Father. Christina knows, but she is not a follower of Christ. She doesn’t like it when her friends call her Pissy Chrissy. She prefers Tina. For mere acquaintances she is Christina.

She gets sore throats often. Sometimes a sore shoulder, which reminds her that she needs a new bed. Or a new name. She remembers young lovers who used to admire her naked body with words, not with her name. She followed the advice of a self-help book to examine her body slowly, every inch, in front of a full-length mirror. Blue veins bolting like lightning above nipples. Corn on third toe of left foot. Brown bruise on left thigh she pressed with two fingers, yet couldn’t remember its source. She remembers that her body is easily bruised and forgotten. Like her name.

Tomorrow, Christina will visit her Father. For him she is ‘Darling.’ He will sit at an angle from her, on the recliner facing the television. He will shut it off for a brief chat. She will notice his overgrown toenails. Some curved outward, some curved inward, dark grime at the ends. She will stop at quiet moments and think of his funeral: Closed casket, shiny black. Underneath – 2-inch toenails on cold, blue-veined feet. Refuse to give a speech just as she refused for Mother. The idea of death makes her wordless. Makes her see pictures in her head instead.

When I had no name, between the darkness of the womb and the darkness of this world, I was what I am now.

Nameless, I was a slippery baby girl they called their bundle of joy, another miracle among millions of other miracles.

Named, I can still be slippery, depending on the occasion, and though I’m no longer a baby, I’m still a girl, a girl among billions of other girls.

When I hear someone say my name, I can’t tell if it’s meant for me, unless you say it with that tenderness, click of the tongue, or lilt that calls to my soul.
Say it again. Say it differently.
Re-envision me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: