I wanted to name our daughter Ruby. The word is beautiful to me: vital, vibrant. Deep. I had an Aunt Ruby, whom I don’t remember, but I always loved her name. I also love the name Pearl. Both are elegant, refined, rich. Precious. They evoke rare beauty, luster, shine, value. They are natural. Earth and sea made.
My husband wasn’t sold on Ruby. He wavered. He was close — really close — until happy hour with coworkers one night.
“Have y’all thought of names?”
“Yeah,” my husband replied. “We’re thinking about Chloe. Or Ruby.” Testing the waters.
His coworker said, “When I think of Ruby, I think of a prostitute. Skinny and scraggly, leaning against a lamppost. Bright red lips.”
My husband came home that night and said, “We’re not naming her Ruby.”
My mother’s engagement ring is a ruby. I always admired that — that she had a non-diamond. The red is deep and beautiful. It pops. It is unexpected.
My mother also has pearls. Had pearls. She gave them to me, and they are stunning. I never knew how lovely pearls are until I held a strand in my hand and felt the weight of them. Rubbed the lustrous luminescent rounds between my fingers. I wear them sometimes for no reason. I like beautiful things. I wore them one day “to work,” which is a desk in my basement. I just felt like wearing pearls that day. So I doubled the strand and clasped it behind my neck. I wore a baby blue sweater and jeans. Nothing special. I touched the pearls absently all day, their slow perfection formed beneath the sea. When I signed on for a team video hangout, the first thing my teammate said was, “You’re wearing pearls!” And she smiled, as if the unexpectedness of the pearls brightened her day. I had forgotten I was wearing them, though my fingers were constantly on them, and I was embarrassed, but also pleased. I don’t get out much in my job, and it felt nice to bring some pretty into the day.
For the month of April, I will be publishing a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Trying to get back into the writing habit.