Alethea, Greek for truth. When I was a child I imagined I was Aphrodite when I wanted to be beautiful. Athena when I wanted to be strong. Once, my friend told me I looked like a Greek goddess in profile and I’ll never forget that. Lethe is a river where one goes to forget. I tried to dip my thoughts in its current to wash them clear of the pain. Too many memories fog my brain, most of them not mine. Grammy called me Leethie, which is only one e away from the river of forgetting, reminding me how we tried our best to forget each other, but she is still with me know. When I smell roses in winter, I know she is beside me. She whispers I love you into the cells of my heart, filling it with the grace of forgiveness. I have been called a lot of names and my life is not over yet. Alethea is not really Alethea, but Aletha according to my family, but not according to one of my best friends who refuses to drop the e that is there. I have no preference for either name, it’s the others I won’t own. Althea sounds like sandpaper. Ah-leth-ia, like a lisp. Then there are the others that are so far off I have to laugh. I’ve been called Bitch, Moody and Too Sensitive. I’ve been called Fish because my last name was Fischer, but I used to wonder if I also smelled like fish, which I might have once a month when I was too afraid to go to the bathroom. There were also the nice nicknames. Eeesh from my family when I was young, and then not so young, spelt Ish by my stepfather who sang me the song about sunshine when he was happy with me. When I smiled everything was okay. Now, my daughter calls me the master healer to tease me, and lots of other whoowhoo names that make me laugh because I know she loves me and in her 12-year-old way, she is proud of her mother. My husband calls me the Love of My Life, and sometimes that sounds too big. I am now Honey by my birthfather when he hangs up the phone and inside the warmth of the word I feel Love.
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