I’ve been reading ‘The House on Mango Street’ lately to study at school. I love Sandra Cisneros’s beautiful Vignettes and plan to use them as writing prompts with my class. So I had to give it a go myself…
What’s In A Name?
My name is four letters making a five letter word. Its Greek roots speak of war and trojan horses. But I’m just Helen.
In English it is easy: say what you see. In German, I gain an a; in French two accents, a third e, and absolutely no chance that anyone will say the haitch correctly.
My dad even trips over that. It is a breath rather than a letter. An expiring of air, soft like a whisper; rough like a complaint.
My name gets my attention. Call me what you want. But never Hell. Not that. Thank you.
My name was going to be Samantha, so I’m often told. Stewart for a boy. But that was too long with my long last name, it was decided. I don’t really mind. Helen’s just fine. My last name though that told of ancestors under trees, working in the forest. Or it used to tell that. It doesn’t anymore, not since Helen married Parsons and let go of Underwood forever. A new name for a new start. A new name for the same old me. Just a name. Any name will do. But please, never Hell.