He Renamed Me

He Renamed Me

Jamal wasn’t even my type; he was pretty.
Not in a feminine way, and that doesn’t mean I like ugly men; but I typically prefer the indigo and violet hues of a midnight sky to seduce my twinkling Stars.
Pardon the double entendre, back to Jamal.
Jamal was all of the Autumn hues mixed in one man: amber skin, auburn hair, and emerald eyes. In the late eighties, early nineties he was considered a catch.
But I wasn’t interested in “catching” anyone, and would not even make eye contact with him when I went to visit my best friend at her job.

I can’t stand her now, but that’s another story.

She worked at the gift shop in one of the casinos; Jamal worked security. He had a habit of lingering around the shop. I would window-shop the new watches that would arrive weekly, my best friend and I would admire the cuff watches surrounded by glimmering, rainbow colored crystals, and shake our heads at the prices. The minute Jamal would walk in the store, I would leave.
That went on for about three months.

As I was leaving one evening, Jamal stopped me at the entrance.
“How many times are you going to walk by me and not speak?” He asked with an attitude.
I shrugged my left shoulder and smirked.
If I didn’t know you back then, I was really rude.
“Until, you are worthy to speak to. Now move out of my way, before I get charged for an extra hour of parking.”
Jamal took a step back, chuckled and pulled out a hundred dollar bill and handed it to me, “This will cover you for the next few hours. Will you just talk to me?”
The rage boiled up in me, and I had a hard time containing it.
“Do I look like a hoe to you?! Did you really just offer to pay me for my time?? Fuck I look like?”
I grabbed the hundred and walked off in the direction of the boardwalk so that I could cool off with a walk by the sea. He must have followed me because I heard someone laughing behind me as he tapped my shoulder. I turned around sharply.
“You’re quite a spitfire aren’t you?” He said still laughing.
“You disrespected me!” I spat back.
“Um nooooo, you took that the wrong way. I would never disrespect a lady. Not my style. As a matter of fact, I have something for you.”
Jamal reached into a bag he was carrying on his back and pulled out a large black box. When he opened it, the light of the Moon reflected off each crystal and danced above his head like a kaleidoscope.

It was the watch I had been eyeing for three months or so.
I couldn’t help but smile, “How did you…why did you…”
“Oh so I finally rendered your slick talking behind speechless?”
“No I got a lot more to say…” I said with a fake attitude mainly because the watch was gorgeous.
“Before you tell me off again,” Jamal interrupted, “Can I at least know the name of the lady who is doing so?”
That made me laugh. I sighed and smiled, “Michele.”
“That name does mean a gift from God, but Michele is waaaaay to common. There is nothing about you that says common.”

Nicely played.
“So, I’m going to rename you.”
I chuckled again. Making me laugh more than once back then was quite a feat, “What? Why? And to what?”
Now Jamal was laughing, “Because I need to get your watch inscribed. So meet me back here tomorrow night same time and you will have your watch and your new name.”
Jamal left me standing in the surf confused.
I did go back the next night, but only after the prodding of my former best friend. It seemed that Jamal noticed me from the first time I walked into the shop. He also saw me admire the watch. He also paid a hundred dollars once a week for twelve weeks to buy the watch for me.
I was impressed.

Not impressed enough to meet Jamal alone on the beach however, so I took my best friend and another girl from work with me. We sat on the beach and conversed a while before Jamal showed up grinning from ear to ear.

“You came back! And you bought reinforcements,” he laughed. “Not necessary but smart. I won’t keep y’all long because I am actually just on break. Walk me back to the boards so I can show you what’s inscribed.”

He seemed so pleased with himself it made me smile. When we got back to the boardwalk, Jamal opened the box back up and gave the watch to me to inspect.

The inscription said:

For Thais.

The name is Greek for “to bring forth joy”, which you do every TIME I see you.


The funny thing is Jamal kind of set the bar when it came to renaming me. Until, I became a “Star” in my midnight skies’ eyes.

© Michele Mitchell, 2013

Peace and ShineOn

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