Behind My Name

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Why do you want to know what my name is? It's not like you really care. It's not like you'll ever speak to me again. It's not like it really matters whether you know what to call me for the four seconds during which you grant me your attention.
That swims into my mind as I'm asked, yet again, the inevitable question: "What's your name?" It's not something that I can hope to avoid when I'm the new kid. Everyone wants to welcome me to Glen Hills, introduce themselves, ask who I am.

I have the same basic reaction every time, the disbelief that anyone could actually care what I call myself. I'm the quiet girl, the one who hides herself in ripples of the off-white sweater too big for her, the one in the non-skinny jeans. I'm the girl with the long ponytail, loose enough that strands of dark hair fall into my face, covering my brown eyes so you can't see that I'm not looking at you. I'm the one standing against the wall at an assembly because there are no more chairs and nobody bothered to save one for me. I'm the girl who's interesting for a day, then peels back like old wallpaper in need of replacement.
I don't think you really want to know my name. You're just being polite.
I mumble something you probably can't understand, because I'm the girl who does things like that when she wants to hide.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?"
I sigh. I hate my name. "My name is Chanlyeya," I say. Everyone remembers my name; it's too unique and flowery. I don't like being remembered... although just because they know the name doesn't mean they know the girl who goes with it.
You smile. "That's an interesting name," you comment.
"Mm," I mumble.
"What's your next class?"
"Um... Science."
"Me, too!" you exclaim, as though it's the most wonderful discovery in the world. "Want to walk together?"
I look up at you, brush my hair back minimally. I study your face, which shows that you are far to eager to escort me to class. Don't you know I'm the girl who doesn't want to be anything more than what she is? I'm the girl who's best friend is a journal. I'm not the girl who's thrilled when a football player wants to walk with her to class.
I look away from you. "No, thanks," I mutter.
I can hear a frown in your voice. "Are you sure?"

"Positive," I say, and walk away.
Because I'm the girl who pushes people away before they can get too close.





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