She withdraws from her name, wondering why, as a child, she wrote it on everything she owned – black magic marker on a backpack, silver paint pen on a leather jacket, the image etched into her flesh by a man named Shaker. There aren’t statues of cats, at least, posed and lined up on wooden shelves hanging on the wall. She never would have gone that far.
She forgot how it started. Maybe a joke or a boyfriend’s observation about the shape of her eyes? It wasn’t long after she heard the name in the hallways that she began painting her eyes thick and black, and started wearing stockings that left red crisscross patterns on her knees.
Then the nights came when her mother was gone, and her stepfather played solitaire next to a row of beer cans at the kitchen table, and she sat behind the locked door of her walk-in closest, taping pictures to the wall that had been drawn by boys with steady hands. Sometimes she would stand under the bare bulb, lick her finger, and smudge the lines until fine bits of gray paper peeled up, just to ease the time away.
She liked the name mixed with liquor in the mouths of sweaty boys, but even more so when they screamed it through thin gaping lips. Naked, except for their tight black jeans and studded belts, they cursed her name until they forgot it, all of them.
It seemed fitting, she thought one day, while painting her eyes beneath the glow of a bare bulb in the dressing room, that the DJ should call out the name whispered in love so many times but soon forgotten.