Sara (with a double-‘h’)
On the evening of the first day I spelled my name correctly, with an ‘h’ after the last ‘a’, Daddy knocked on my bedroom door and let himself in. A dirty bubble his whiskey breath was, bobbing in that space between door frame and beer gut.
I said hello, and an uncomfortable smile tickled my bladder. My hand started trembling; the red and black H2 pencil in my hand started looking rubbery. It could have been the tears blurring my vision.
Tears are just make-up, Sarah, I whispered. Tears are just make-up.
Daddy wanted to know what I said: What was that you said he said, and then belched.
Sarah, you with a pretty little ‘h’ in your name. Sarah, you with a pretty little ‘h’ in your name, I whispered again and again when the pencil decided it didn’t want to be between my fingers anymore.
I knew exactly what was coming. Yes, even at the age of five.
Keeping Daddy in my peripheral vision (it wasn’t hard—he was a big man), I looked up and saw my Chinese Barbie rip-off on the desk. I felt sorry for her; she had on only a shitty green chiffon skirt and some scotch tape over her boobs where I taped her to the wall because she couldn’t really stand up in her pink high heels. The white paint on the desktop and wall was flaky, and I guess she must’ve been freezing being out there in the blizzard not wearing a top on and all. She was shivering.
Again I thought it was tears blurring my vision.
I sniffed, and Daddy told me to blow my nose, but I couldn’t get up so I blew my nose on my shirt sleeve, leaving a snail trail that covered Mini Mouse’s mouth.
Expressing displeasure, Daddy shook his head.
I focused on rip-off Barbie’s high heels. Her toes were frozen in the flaky ‘snow’ like miniature peas, but she managed a smile and a wink as if to say Don’t you worry, kid, I’m all right. All I need is a pair of high heels.
Daddy shifted his weight and leaned against the other side of the door frame, chewing off a thumb nail that stuck to his bottom lip like a maggot.
I picked up my pencil and added another ‘h’ to my name. My reasoning was that if Barbie was all right in a blizzard with her tits out wearing only high-heels, I would be all right with a double consonant-h at the end of my name.
After all, Barbies don’t lie.
That’s what Kens are for.