Failed Beatrice

ImageOur mothers gave us names that were impossible to live up to, heavy with silent letters and les accents graves, names that had already been claimed and fulfilled by greater women who came before us. Anaïs and Siobhan and Calliope and Vivienne: we would never match the elegance of our first names. That much was obvious in our first colicky years, in our perpetually skinned knees and tomato allergies and lazy eyes, and by the time our classmates thought to call us Fatty or Too-Tall or Lump, our disappointing destinies were confirmed.  We were unworthy Marguerites and Rosalinds, ugly Stellas, clumsy Astrids. We were failed Beatrices.

All I wished for, back in the days before I met you, was to be called Jessica.