“Name” (1995) by Goo Goo Dolls
“Name” (1995) by Goo Goo Dolls
Her parents sat her down. She put down her handbag by the side of the chair, that same old cushiony chair her parents have always decided to keep, though she’s offered constantly to buy them a new suite. She unbuttoned her jacket and shifted her cellphone to her left pocket. “Okay, what is it?” “You know we-” Her mother started tearing up, looking down on her lap. Her father comforted his wife. “C’mon, Sheryl.” “What is it!? Are you okay, mum?” “Look, we just wanted to tell you that we are so proud of you. You are successful and beautiful. We love Michael and the kids you’ve given us. We love lil’ Sarah and Jessica.” She understood her parents’ was always absolute. What were they trying to get at? Her father spoke. “Y’know, you are a god send for us. We love you so very much.” “Okay, okay.” He began to sniffle. “Okay, okay?” She leaned over. Her suit dress wouldn’t allow much leeway, but she managed to stretch far enough to go and tap her mother on the lap, comfortingly.
“Look, we just wanted to say … we’re sorry for giving you that name.”
“Oh, is that all?”
She was expecting horrible news about someone’s death or their divorce, which she was kinda expecting, since they’re both trying to kill eachother annually. “Oh, you didn’t need to apologise. It’s totally fine, mum. And Dad.”
“Look, darling, we didn’t know any better, that’s how we-”
“Yes, Mum! You didn’t know any better because it’s not your fault.” Just like at her fast paced job, she cut the conversation immediately when she knew no one was to blame. There’s no point crying over spilt milk. Only if there was a reason to scold someone as the obvious source of failure, would there be a reason to continue a conversation. But in her heightened mind and speed, she knew instantly her parents weren’t at fault.
“Mum, Dad, that’s how society is today. You didn’t know any better. I didn’t know any better. No one knew any better. That’s how it is.”
Her mother knew how fast her brain would spin – that’s how Executives work. She quickly glanced to her husband. “We’d knew you’d say that. But regardless. We want you to know that, we want you to hear us, we’re sorry. I’m sorry. Because I gave you that name.” Her mother crying is one thing she does not enjoy watching. Her wife crying is one thing he does not enjoy watching. He moved in and cuddled her wholly. “Mum, its okay.” She got up off the chair, lifted her tight dress up just slightly enough to jump on top of her old folks, like when she did when she was 7. “Ohh!” “Watch the leg, watch the leg! That gout!” Her parents were delighted and shocked at their big girl embracing them like this. She wrapped her arms around her parents with the reflected love they have always given her. Her arse kneaded into her mum’s lap. “Easy, easy.” Her slender legs rubbed into her father’s ribs. “Watch out!” Her coffee breath fogged the tiny space between each of them. “I love both of you. The decision you made was not from a place of hate or harm or judgment. Thank you for apologising but you really didn’t have to. I love both of you.” She cuddled them in stronger. “Watch out, my neck!” She pulled her head up. They both looked at their successful 40-something year old daughter. Her mother wiped some mascara off, which was about to run down her face. “Look, you’ve made me cry too!”
She threw her handbag into the passenger’s seat, looked up to wave at her parents and then got in the car. She started the ignition, beeped the horn and drove off. Her parents waved back at her.
Did they really need to apologise? There were some difficult times during her teenage hood, yes. There are also very small times when she notices her name today. Was it too late to apologise? She drove by the neigbourhood dairy. Rajiv still works there. And where did this come from? They really didn’t need to apologise. She let it go a long, long time ago. She’s too old to care. But she appreciates that they needed to do it. It was important for them. But essentially she’s happy with her name. And it hasn’t truly affected her. She may’ve become even more successful and more stronger because of it, even. It wasn’t that bad, anyway.
Thank heavens they didn’t giver her a hippie name, like Sky or Ocean or Storm. They sound like receptionists she’s come across over the years. Or even a stripper name like Princess or Arielle, which is what some of those bored receptionists eventually ended up doing. She realised the absurdity of coloured names like Violet or Azura. There were even stranger names that sounded like female characters from computer games: Kairi, Syran, Indinka. She knows colleagues who have surnamed first-names like Keaton or Madison that are incredibly difficult to guess from their business cards. She even knows a colleague with a boy’s name – Darryl! Thank heavens she wasn’t given one of those foreign names like Françoise, Belina, Basheera or Agnetha, or even an ethnic name like LaToya or Tanisha. Thank heavens she wasn’t given one of those double-barreled white trash names too, like Olivia-Tegan or Katelynn-Anne or Kaylee- Bryn. She drove onto the onramp. She hated those intentionally misspelt names too. Her daughters were definitely not going to be Cera or Jessikah. And her name wasn’t even a typically boring name like Mary. It still had a kick.
By the time she got back to the office, she was happy her parents gave her that name. No one was going to take it away from her. She was better person for it. And – it wasn’t really that bad anyway.
Her phone rang, she lifted it out of her left pocket, “Gaye speaking.”