Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Name The Baby Day!

Suggest Ray.

"Ray?" she'll say.

"As in Raymond. Like it?"

She'll get up and go to the window and start to cry. And she'll hold her palms to her big fat belly while she does it. Ask her what's wrong.

"Nothing," she'll say.

Tell her she can tell you anything. Even if it's about a love from her past that was so strong it nearly took her life. Even if it's about a boy who brought her halfway across the country with promises of opening up a little store in a little town that they'd run together, waking up together every morning to put out the newspapers and pour coffee for the men who wear orange vests to work. Even if it's about the apartment above the store that they were supposed to fill up with a daughter and a son and enough love to scare an enemy army.

Even if it's about a boy named Ray who took to drinking more than saving, took to shouting more than singing, took to lying more than not. A boy named Ray who could just as well have dropped her off by the side of an interstate for how quickly he abandoned her to her side of the bed. A boy named Ray who never got them out of the Salt Lake City boarding house they pulled up to when they finally hit the dot on the map.

A boy named Ray who never found that storefront to rent. Who filled their rented room with defeat and black words. A boy named Ray who left her four hundred dollars and no note goodbye the morning after he found out she was pregnant with a boy she wanted to name Ray.

She'll ask, "How'd you know all that?"

Say, "I didn't. Girls Are Pretty did."

"Girls Are Pretty?"

"Right over there. See?"

Then point to the empty doorway, where Girls Are Pretty was standing just a second ago, holding a hammer and some nails.

"Wait a minute," say. "I could swear I…"

She'll come and sit by your side. She'll put her hands on your shivering shoulders. And she'll whisper in your ear, "Shhh. Shhh."

That same beautiful sound is going to be floating through your newborn son's ears in just a few more months. With her whispering lips just an inch from your ear, you'll be so overcome with love for your wife you're going to have to sob just to get some air in your lungs.

"I believe you," she'll say. "Until the day that I die, even when you lie, I'm going to believe every word you say."

Happy Name The Baby Day!