NaBloPoMo DAY 5:
There’s this girl in my neighborhood. Her name is Amelie. Cute and smart, with a pretty smile. She just started third or fourth grade, I’m not sure. Well, whenever she sees me out walking the dogs, Sir Henry and Young Oliver, she stops whatever she’s doing with her friends and runs over to us, shouting with utter delight.
“CAN I PET HENRY AND OLIVER??”
And I say, yes. So she pets them profusely and gushes all over them until Oliver is squirming and Henry is trying to high tail it out of her chokehold. She then asks me all sorts of questions about the dogs, and frankly she now knows everything there is to know about them, including how I came to find Oliver in the streets and brought him home, infested with mites and worms. She loves hearing that story and has asked me to retell it many a time.
One day Amelie finally gets around to asking me my name. I tell her.
She gives me a pained look and finally says, “That name is going to be hard for me to remember. Mind if I call you Martha?”
I consider this request. Monica is three syllables after all, while Martha is only two. Maybe Amelie has a point. So I agree. And she’s been calling me Martha ever since.
Except the other day she asks me, “What’s your name again?”
I reply, without giving it too much thought, “Martha!”
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” she says, adding, “Hi, Martha!”
Then, on the second week of school, she and her mom stop by my house. She’s selling gift wrap for her school. I buy some and then I realize I have to write down my name and order. I hesitate for a moment. Should I write down Martha?
I decide I better write down my actual name, since that is what’s on my check. I hand her the check and my order, expecting confusion or at surprise.
Amelie looks at the floral-printed check with a quizzical eye and exclaims, “Wow, Martha! That’s a real pretty check!”
She then matter-of-factly slips it into a large envelope and, as she walks away, I can hear her say to her mom, “See Mom? I knew Martha would buy something from me. I told you we can count on her!”
Maybe later, when she’s turning in the orders and checks to the school, she’ll notice a floral-printed check that says “Monica,” and be stymied as she tries to figure out who Monica is, while wondering what happened to Martha’s order??