What’s in a Name?
July 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
An extract from a short story I’m working on:
By now, Naseem had become pretty used to the way people reacted to her name – as if she had made it up as some sort of a joke. “Naseem?” They would ask with a raised eyebrow. “I knew a man called Naseem once…” Once or twice, there was a Naseem next door, dressed in a generic shirt and trousers, who looked even more disgruntled at her name, but pretended not to be.
“So why did your parents name you Naseem?” The question had cropped up once or twice at various events, as had the question “So what does it mean exactly?” She felt the latter to be more polite, to be a more appropriate question to ask someone they had just met. She answered both anyway – she could hardly ignore them. “When I was born, she said, I was so small that they didn’t think I was going to make it,” she would reply in the most deadpan-but-polite tone that she could muster up, “so they named me Naseem, meaning breeze, because they said I was light as a feather, and they were so afraid that I would simply be a passing breeze in their life.”
“Huh, that’s… poetic.” He was the first one to have that response. He was the first one to dwell on that for more than a moment. He said, “it’s a nice name” and it was Naseem’s turn to be taken aback.
“Thanks.” she responded to him with a hint of hesitation in her voice. She would be lying if she said this first exchange of theirs wasn’t one of the reasons that she married him in the end. She would be lying if she said that his words, “poetic,” didn’t make her feel something – though, what exactly, she hadn’t known at that time. She thought it had just been surprise and ignored the growing heat rising up her face.
“You are?” She asked him.
“Raza.” he smiled.