20090908

Her Own Personal Pronoun

by Zeptimius Hedrapor

Not long after moving to the city, Anne met Pat and they fell madly in love. The next time she made her weekly call to her mom, she focused her mind before dialing, and during the chat, she carefully weighed every word she said. "Pat is a designer," she'd say, and "Pat and I went to the movies yesterday." She actually managed to throw in a "Pat is shaving" once, which was technically true: legs, though - not beard. Pretty soon, the big announcements came - I think Pat could really be the one; Pat would love to meet you guys, but we're both incredibly busy; Pat is moving in with me - and finally, the Big One: "Pat and I are getting married." Maybe she was letting her guard down, maybe it was the inevitability of the truth getting out; whatever the reason, three weeks later, she finally slipped up and said that word she'd been dancing around all these months: SHE.

6S

Zeptimius Hedrapor can be reached here.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Such a thorough story encapsulating a variety of issues. Really like how it's grounded from the beginning and you're taken on a journey with Anne, possibly even knowing from the beginning. You're there with her when she mentions, 'the word'. Great, loved it.

Kx.

Christian Bell said...

Since Pat is an androgynous name, you would have to work the balance of not revealing too much right off the bat while also giving the reader sufficient clues to know what’s happening and give this piece power. You do a good job of it here—Anne carefully weighing every word in the second sentence, with shaving legs not beard in the fourth making it obvious. Nice work. I like the title too.

zeptimius said...

Thanks for all your kind words.

I'm not a native speaker, nor do I live in an English-speaking country, so I'm curious how androgynous the name really is. When you hear someone mention a 'Pat', do you lean towards a girl, a guy, or is it pretty much 50-50?

Christian Bell said...

From personal experience, I would say that there probably are more men than women named Pat under the age of 40. Over that age, there are probably slightly more women than men that have the name. I’ve known both men and women who have gone by that over the longer Patrick or Patricia. If I heard the name with ambiguous context, I would probably think male.

I think the androgyny of the name serves the piece well. If Pat’s name were Lisa, for instance, I think it loses something. It would still be a good piece, but I think you would lose that touch of mystery the current first sentence presents.

zeptimius said...

No no, the name Pat was very deliberately chosen. Thanks for your response, I can see how the idea that Pat might be a 'she' gradually grows on the reader... which is what I intended.

Laurita said...

I loved the tip-toeing of this. Excellent.

quin browne said...

i'm not sure what i like more--the delight of the story or the perfection of your name.

zeptimius said...

As you might imagine, it's not my real name. 'zeptimius' did not exist on Google until I started using it; here's hoping that it will keep referring only to me.

Shorty said...

This made me laugh. Good work! I think I saw it coming, but wasn't sure. The shaving of legs was great.

Teresa Stenson said...

Love those carefully weighed words.

My mum is a 'Pat' (Patricia) but it's still ambiguous enough to me to not feel especially male or female.

I want to know 'what happened next'? Tell us! (I know that's not how it works.)

:)

zeptimius said...

I think the rest of the story would be more predictable and cliché. In 6 sentences: Mother in tears. Father silently brooding. Brother confessing that he 'knew all along'. Fights, talks, reconciliation, and two, count' em, two bridal showers. The wedding is held in the City, not in the Country. Parents feel awkward but proud, and they all live happily ever after.