Dear Zoe by Philip Beard EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Philip Beard
- Language: English
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
- Price: Free
I have memories of you before you were even born. Maybe that’s normal for
mothers but I doubt big sisters feel that way too often. I just remember sitting
around the kitchen table with Mom and Emily (who was barely four at the
time) arguing about what your name was going to be and how that somehow
made you into a real person before I ever saw your face.
Mom asked Em and
me for help because she felt like she had this power with names she had to be
careful with. Her middle name is Tess and that’s what she named me when
she had me at only nineteen—“With big hair and big dreams” she says—and
I think sometimes she’s afraid that’s why I’m turning out the way I am, so
much like she was when she married my real Dad instead of how she is now
I was five when Mom and David got married, seven when Mom finally got
pregnant with Emily, and even I could see that she was becoming a different
person, like a real grown-up. She never looked glamorous anymore—just
pretty. She stopped wearing eye shadow and she got a blunt cut that made her
look like someone from Connecticut. David had gotten Mom to start reading
and she couldn’t stop.
They read every night and when Mom named Em after
Emily Dickinson she felt like that’s what she got—this quiet, fearful child
who clung to her and seemed to be lonely for no good reason from the day
she was born. Never mind that everyone was naming their daughters Emily at
the time. Mom had a certain kind of Emily in mind while Em grew inside of
her and that’s what she got.
I was already nine by the time Em turned one and
I could tell even then that she was smarter than I’d ever be. But Mom knew
that life would be hard for Em, or that she’d make it hard for herself, and one
child who already seemed to know there was sadness in the world was
enough. You were going to have a name that would protect you from that.
I guess we didn’t argue so much as we worked at it, Mom, Em and me.
seemed to know that this was the first important decision of her life and she
didn’t fidget or anything. She just sat at the kitchen table with us every
evening waiting for her turn. We would each suggest a name and it was the
other two’s job to say why it was a good or bad idea.
Like I would say
“Megan” and Mom would say that a Megan in her high school class got
pregnant her junior year. Then Em would say “Jodi” because that was her
best friend’s name and I would remind her that the big slobbery dog down the
street was named Jodi and so Jodi was out.
Or Mom would say, “How about
Jessica?” and Em would say that a Jessica in her preschool class eats paste
and that would be enough. “Faith” was too religious, Mom said, and might
make her prone to self-righteousness.
“Hanna,” even though it was becoming
popular again, was an old woman’s name. “Virginia” was a state, not a name,
and ugly besides and even if you called her “Ginny” for short that was
another dog name and you might just as well call her “Trixie” and get it over
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