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On_A_Windy_Day

December 2009, Entry for Week One

Title: In A Name
Words: 1418
For: brigits_flame
Prompt: Cue
AN:
Funny how big a social cue a name can be. This spawned from a conversation I overhead at work that got me thinking.

Proper names are poetry in the raw. Like all poetry they are untranslatable. ~W.H. Auden


“And she goes by Kimmey? Really?”

“I know, can you believe that? I mean, it's OK if her mother calls her Kimmey, but why not at least go by Kim? I just can't take her seriously.”

“And you hired her?”

“No, no -- she's the seller's attorney.”

“So you still don’t have a date yet?”

“No, because we haven't heard from ‘Kimmey’. She needs to finalize the contract before we can close.”

“What a nightmare … have you checked out her credentials online or anything?”

“Actually, I haven’t.”

“Here, I’ll bring a search up … what’s her last name?”

“Lawson, L-A-W-S-O-N.”

“There she is – Kimmey Lawson. Hmm … it looks like she’s legit. Degree from American University.”

"Oh. My. God. Look at that, Kimmey, K-I-M-M-E-Y. That’s even worse. What mother names her child that? It’s like naming her Candy or something. So unprofessional. Even Daisy would have been better than K-I-M-M-E-Y. Susan, if you were a Susie, wouldn't you go by Sue at work?”

“Well, especially if I were a lawyer and I knew how to legally change it, of course I would.”

“I just don’t understand why she wouldn’t choose to go by Kim. What is she thinking?”

.:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._

Kyra sat perched on the edge of the couch, bent over a piece of loose-leaf paper. She had slid her watch off of her wrist and was now gripping it tightly and while she gritted her teeth and counted her way through contractions. When her muscles’ grip finally relaxed and she was able to inhale again, she looked down at the sheet and sighed. There was no denying that the contractions were evenly spaced – like clockwork, every four minutes -- and had been for over an hour. It was time to go to the hospital.

Kyra had called her mother in a panic when she had felt the first contraction seize her, but Mama had said that there was simply no way for her to get to Alexandria in time for the birth. She had already bought a bus ticket for the following week, when the baby was officially due, and it couldn’t be exchanged. She had assured Kyra that everything would be okay and that she would be there next week to help out. But Kyra was still doubtful that she could do this alone. She should have moved home when Simon had first dumped her, like her mother said, but stubbornly she had decided to stay in Virginia and have the baby herself. Now she wished she was back in the Bronx with her family.

She heaved herself awkwardly off of the couch and gathered together her purse and the small bag of clothes and toiletries that she had assembled this morning. As she fastened her watch back to her wrist, she wondered if she had time to take the Metro, or if she should call a cab. After she decided that she could splurge on a cab and had made the necessary arrangements, she paused with her hand still resting on the phone and took a deep breath. There was no putting it off any longer. May as well get it over with.

She lifted the receiver to her ear and dialed the familiar number. After three rings, he picked up.

“Yeah?” He sounded like he had been drinking, though it was only three o’clock in the afternoon.

“Hey. It’s Kyra. I – I think it’s time.”

“Time? For what?”

She hesitated, tempted to just slam the receiver down, “Time for the baby. I just called a cab for the hospital.”

There was a silence which she quickly filled, blurting, “You know, you don’t have to come if you don’t want to. I was only calling because you asked me t—“

“What hospital?”

“Inova Alexandria,” she gets out just as another contraction grips her and she doubles over in pain, barely able to catch her breath. Simon had already hung up.

.:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._

She had already been in hard labor for hours by the time he strutted into the labor and delivery room, staggering slightly.

“Simon,” she said through gritted teeth.

“No baby yet?” he asked, surveying the room as if she were hiding a baby behind a monitor or in a dark corner.

“No.” Sweat ran in rivulets down her forehead and dampened the hair at the back of her neck.

“Well, what’s the hold up? I want to see my baby boy, Simon Jr.” he said, collapsing into chair near her head.

“Things are just going a little slowly,” Kyra said. She gasped and doubled over as much as her swollen belly would let her, a strangled cry of pain escaping from her lips.

“What, that hurt or something?”

“Yes, you asshole, it hurts a lot,” she panted, not caring anymore about keeping things peaceful.

“Damn, girl, you got to get an epidural. I seen it on TV, then it won’t hurt anymore and we can just get this over with. Nurse!” he called to a petite, dark hair woman wearing maroon scrubs who was dashing by the partially open doorway.

She cut into the room and raised her eyebrows at Simon impatiently.

“This is my baby and she’s got to get an epidural. Stat or whatever.”

“No,” Kyra said weakly, but the petite nurse was already flipping through the chart at the end of her bed.

“Ms. Rodriguez’s chart states that her birth plan does not include any drugs. Is that right, Ms. Rodriguez.”

“That’s right,” Kyra answered. “I’m having a natural birth.”

“And you’re doing a great job,” the nurse assured, drifting over to check the monitor that was hooked up to Kyra about five different ways.

“Well, this is ridiculous,” Simon sputtered. “Natural birth? What the hell is that, Krya? It’s already taking forever. Just give her the epidural.”

The nurse, not paying him much attention replied, “There’s no need for it. Ms. Rodriguez is progressing well and has declined all pain medications.”

“What the hell,” Simon exploded, “So what am I, just supposed to wait here all night? I’m the father, ain’t I got any rights?”

“Simon!” Kyra was embarrassed, but what could you expect from Simon. She didn’t know why she had agreed to let him come in the first place. She was only fooling herself if she thought that he would actually want to play a role in the child’s life, or help her out in the next week. She prayed that he was right, that the baby was a boy so he would never have to be in the position that she was in now.

The nurse didn’t flinch but moved very close to Simon, so close that even though she only came half way up his chest, he could clearly read her name tag –Kimmey, in block letters.

“Yes. You have the right to get the hell out of my hospital if you aren’t going to respect my patient’s choices,” she spoke calmly.

Kyra didn’t know who was more surprised, her or Simon. He looked as though he was still trying to process what she had just said. His face got dark and he stared down angrily at the little nurse, a look that Kyra knew all too well. The nurse started back levelly, with her arms crossed.

After a silent show down, Simon swung around sharply.

“Whatever the fuck,” he said, puling his baseball cap lower on his head. “Have a good life with that baby, bitch.” He shoved the door to the room so that it bounced off the wall, and then he was gone.

Kyra felt relief wash over her. It was only momentarily, though, as a contraction gripped her muscles. The nurse was over in an instant, the picture of calm.

“You’re ten centimeters,” she announced after a quick exam. Kyra struggled, she wanted to say something to the nurse, to thank her, or apologize – she wasn’t sure. But when she tried to speak, the nurse held up one finger to silence her, “I’ll go get the doctor. I think you’re ready to push.” She winked at Kyra and disappeared into the hallway.

.:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._ .:*~*:._

The obstetrician dumped the beautiful shrieking mass of baby on to Kyra’s chest where it jerked its new appendages jerkily and caterwauled heartily.

“It’s a girl,” a blond nurse who had been beside Kyra said perkily. “Do you know what you’re going to call her.”

“Yes,” Kyra breathed. “Kimmey. K-I-M-M-E-Y.”


Comments

This conversation was the worst I think I've ever eavesdropped at work -- thank god for cubicles, because I had a note pad and was standing up to hear better and everything! :)

I know, I was worried it would be a little confusing for people, but I'm glad you stuck it out and enjoyed it. Thank you for reading!
Yes, it was pretty shameless ... but hey, I wanted my dialogue to be realistic :)
I'm Kimmi! Some people think it's stupid. I've had people try to get me not to put it on important things but no, it's my name. :) I don't even like being called "Kim."
Kimmi! I thought of you as I was posting this; I wondered if you would read it and what you would think :) I feel your pain because I'm a "Vicky" on my birth certificate and my French teacher in high school was an old nun and she would actually take points off of my tests because I put Vicky and not Victoria! I never could get it through her head that it wasn't my name :) Thanks for reading!
Aww! Yes I do like the story, it's cute! I forgot to mention that because I got excited about the name thing haha. XD

That teacher sounds very annoying!
Thanks, Sally! And at least your name is unique ... it's got to be worse to be one of four Jennifers in a class or workplace :)
Ha ha ha. Kimmy (dominarea) will be amuuuused by this. XD
Uh oh ... I didn't realize I had so many Kimmy readers ... maybe I'd better put up a disclaimer that names were not changed to protect the guilty :)
This is adorable! So much in a name, and people are often so very formal and too high-brow to realise that a name might have deeper, more personal meanings to the ones carrying them around. Very lovely idea. I enjoyed reading this :)
Thanks, reph :) That was my thought when I overheard the conversation - names are so personal and many do have special meaning, it seemed silly to imply that someone couldn't be a lawyer just because of their name. Glad you enjoyed :)
This was really intriguing. Sometimes we are a little bit judgemental, aren't we?
This was beautiful. At first, I wondered why the two scenes had changed so rapidly, but now I get it. The transition between the scenes was an attention-grabber, in my opinion; I had to keep reading to find out why her name was Kimmey (such an awkward spelling D:)! Great writing <3
Hi, I'm one of your fill-in editors!

This one was one of my favorites from the week, and doesn't fail to make me feel slightly guilty because I've totally had that conversation at work. I'm slightly worried that you work in my office, but we don't have cubicles. My guilt is slightly lessened, because I also have one of those names.

I don't have that many notes for you. The only big note is the character of Simon, who's a bit on the cardboard side. Not giving him any redeeming elements might be reality, but it's not good fiction. He can still be just as effective an antagonist without committing every possible infraction against Kyra.

There's one sentence that's got some issues with it: "The obstetrician dumped the beautiful shrieking mass of baby on to Kyra’s chest where it jerked its new appendages jerkily and caterwauled heartily." - A bit awkward of a sentence because of some of the word choice, specifically "dumped" and "mass." Also, jerked jerkily is a redundancy, and that dual adverbs at the end comes off as excessive. You also missed a question mark in the sentence that follows.

Edit: Part 1

Hi, I'm Kelly, one of your make-up editors.

I really like this piece -- it's relatable even for those of us who don't have "ditzy" names or have never been pregnant.

I like how you introduced it with the dialogue, though the transition between it and the past was kind of confusing at first. I was left wondering who Kyra was and it took me a few paragraphs to get into the story. I don't know how you could feel about this, but I think that instead of starting with Kyra, perhaps begin with just "she," making the reader think that it's about Kimmey, and then slowly revealing that it's actually her mother. Another suggestion would be to end the girls' dialogue with something along the lines of, "What was her mother thinking when she named her?"

Second line: ... I mean, it's OK if her mother calls her Kimmey...
Using the word "okay" is more appropriate for writing.

The dialogue, though it is a good hook, feels a little contrived to me, a lot like how Simon feels. It's a little over-the-top, especially with the multiple spelling out of her name.

Likewise, I feel like Simon is a bit overdone. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities -- what would she ever see in him? Maybe having him actually care that he is having a child, instead of just absolutely sure that he is getting a son, would make him more believable. That way, I could also see him as a boyfriend who liked Kyra because of her novelty and then became abusive when he got tired of her.

She had slid her watch off and was now gripping it tightly and while she gritted her teeth and counted her way through contractions.
This is a run-on sentence. I think it's just an accidentally added extra "and," which is placed between "tightly" and "while."

I'm curious about what Kyra's doing with the paper. It seems like a needless addition because she just forgets about it. It could be interesting if we could know what she was writing -- maybe it's baby names!

I like how methodical and tough-minded Kyra is when she's getting ready to go to the hospital. It's really refreshing to see her unhurried and unpanicked about the birth.

I'm confused as to why Simon hangs up immediately after her call, but then it takes him hours to get to the hospital... Is it just because he was too drunk to make it?

"Ms. Rodriguez's chart states that her birth plan does not include any drugs. Is that right, Ms. Rodriguez."
The last period should be a question mark.

"Simon!" Kyra was embarrassed, but what could you expect from Simon.
The last period should be a question mark, and I would suggest changing "Simon" to "him."

She was only fooling herself if she thought that he would actually want to play a role in the child's life, or help her out in the next week.
The verbs here aren't agreeing: the first part says "to play a part," and the second "or help her out." The second should say "or to help her out."

The nurse didn't flinch but moved very close to Simon, so close that even though she only came half way up his chest, he could clearly read her name tag - Kimmey, in block letters.
The sentence is a bit long. Also, she only comes halfway up to his chest? How tall is she and how tall is he?! I know what you mean, but when I first read it, it sounded a bit odd. Also, what does how tall she is have to do with how hard it is for him to read her name tag? The sentence does well in establishing the character, but doesn't make too much sense. Emitting the part about how short she is would be okay, if her petiteness is emphasized when she is first introduced.

The nurse started back levelly, with her arms crossed.
Stared*

He shoved the door to the room so that it bounced off the wall, and then he was gone.
The length of the sentence detracts from its impact. Making it two sentences would be a bit too blunt, but I think shortening it would make it more powerful: He shoved the door so hard that it bounced off the wall, and he was gone.

Kyra struggled, she wanted to say something to the nurse...
That comma should be a semicolon, as both can stand as sentences on their own.

Edit: Part 2

The obstetrician dumbed the beautiful shrieking mass of baby on to Kyra's chest where it jerked its new appendages jerkily and caterwauled heartily.
Woah, that's a big, juicy, chunk of a sentence there! I feel like it doesn't fit with the tone and word choice of the rest of the story, which is fairly simple and straightforward. I think it would fit in better if it just stuck to that. There's a variety of ways to go about it, but I would keep it simple, without too many adjectives, while mentioning all of the parts that you feel are important to touch on -- the baby itself, its yelling, Kyra holding it to her chest, etc.

"Do you know what you're going to call her."
That period should be a question mark.

I really like the ending. I feel that it gives the story a nice, rounded feeling to it, though I'm not sure about how well it fits into the conversation at the beginning, as the topic of it is Kimmey, and the whole rest of the story is about Kimmey's mother's story, which may or may not reflect Kimmey herself. As I said before, I think changing the topic of the girls' dialogue at the beginning to maybe be more insulting towards Kyra for picking such a name would make the story more cohesive.

Despite the REALLY LONG (I'm sorry!) edit, I really enjoyed the story. It was well thought-out, and Kyra was very relatable to me as a woman.

Thank you for sharing,
Kelly
On_A_Windy_Day

September 2011

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