There was a girl who could never remember her name.
Sometimes she’d think, “I’ve remembered!” And then just as she grasped it, like a déjà vu or dream, it fluttered away, leaving her with a vague sensation she’d rather not feel at all.
People would come up to her and say “Hello! What’s your name?” And she would go blank.
What was her name?
Often she would blush, mumble and then making her excuses rush off to someone she knew – someone who wouldn’t ask her – “What is your name?”
Other times, she would distract people.
“What a beautiful dress!” She might say, or “What a wonderful haircut!”
So that people would only remember that they didn’t know her name on the journey home, when sitting in the car in a traffic jam they would turn to one another and say, “That girl, the one with the black brown hair, what was her name again?”
The thing is – the girl wanted to know her name. Desperately so. But she couldn’t ask her mother or her father – what would they think if she told them she had forgotten her name?
She didn’t have a sister or a brother and the rest of the family lived abroad.
If she sent them an email, they’d only think that she was joking and reply in jest not answering the question she posed:
Dear Aunt – What is my name?
So she was stuck.
Take a walk on the wild side
One day the girl went for a walk. And out on this walk she met a chimpanzee.
“Hello,” said the chimpanzee.
“Hello,” she said.
“What’s wrong?” Asked the chimpanzee, scratching his head, a look of concern on his face.
“I can’t remember my name.” Said the girl relieved to finally be able to expose her terrible secret.
“Name?” Said the chimpanzee. “What is a name?”
“The thing that we call ourselves and that people know us by.”
“But how can a name do all that?” Asked the chimpanzee.
“Because that’s what they are supposed to do.” Replied the girl.
The chimpanzee lollopped off.
The girl sighed. Maybe I bored him, she thought to herself.
“Would you like a banana?” The chimpanzee asked, appearing beside her a moment later, a banana in both hands.
“I’d love one!” the girl said taking one from the chimpanzee and peeling back the skin, popping almost half of it in her mouth.
“It’s amazing!” She said, her mouth quite full.
“Hmmm hmmm.” Replied the chimpanzee in agreement, his mouth full too.
The girl finished her banana.
The chimpanzee finished his.
“Would you like to go and look for waterfalls?” Asked the monkey.
The girl thought about it. She had nothing particular to do that day as she had done all her homework. And it was the weekend.
“I’d love to!”
“Great!” Replied the chimpanzee. “Wait here a moment, I’ll go and get my bike.”
The girl waited, watching the monkey walking off on all fours and disappearing behind a tree.
A moment later he returned, pushing beside him an old tandem bicycle. It was a little bit rusty, but the seats looked brand new.
“All aboard!” the chimpanzee said.
The girl climbed onto the back seat, the monkey climbed onto the front and off they went.
The dry red earth beneath them flew in their faces as they biked along a dirt road. The girls white t-shirt was soon no longer white.
They biked for a while, the wind picking up blowing their head like a willow trees leaves, the clouds above them turning a dark blue grey.
Would you like…?
After a while, they stopped. The girl’s tummy rumbled. The chimpanzee looked at her.
And the Girl looked at the chimpanzee.
“Would you like some pineapple?” The chimpanzee asked turning around.
“Yes please!” The girl replied. The money reached into his backpack and pulled out a pineapple.
They stopped on the edge of the path and the girl watched as the monkey picked up a rock nearby and wacked the pineapple in two.
A thick dewy yellow juice poured out, and the chimpanzee passed one half of the pineapple to the girl who immediately started eating it.
The juice cascaded down her mouth, mixing with the red brown earth around her face. Droplets fell onto her t-shirt, but she didn’t notice.
The pineapple was delicious!
At this moment the clouds that had been swirling above them boomed – thunder! And then a flash – lightening!
Rain started gushing down.
The girl’s legs ached slightly from their long bike ride. But though her body was tired, something in her felt alive.
A car drove past – it was the girl’s father.
“Get in! You’ll be soaked!” he called out to her.
The girl turned to invite the chimpanzee onto the back of the truck, but he had gone. All that was left was a tandem bicycle and the eaten shell of a pineapple.
The girls father ran out of the car, picked up the bicycle and heaved it over the sides onto the back of the truck.
“I’m going to sit here dad,” the girl called out to her father as he ran around the side, the rain pouring down, getting back into the car.
“Suit yourself!” The dad replied, closing the driver’s door as the girl climbed onto the back of the truck.
Her father started the engine and drove off.
And as the rain poured down, the girl returned to finishing her pineapple.
Her name: still temporarily unknown.