When I skate, I fly around the frigid ice like a sparrow. I dip in and out of the opposing players, cradling the puck like an egg and protecting it with all my might. As I fly around, darting through bodies and under sticks, I feel free. My being has floated out of its physical form and into a state of superhuman qualities. I am able to speed around and through anything the opposing team throws my way, deflecting their blows like a samurai sword fighting an enemy.
When I skate, I am a different person. I go from an average child, just one of many others, to a special, one-of-a-kind hockey player. I am a neon pink fish in a sea of striped bass and yellowfin tuna; the girl who shows up for school with a salamander on her shoulder.
When I skate, I am alone. I am a castaway bobbing at sea like a message in a bottle. I float and dip through the rough seas, navigating them like a skilled captain. No one can touch me here. They may grab me and push me into the boards, but no one can reach my powerful soul. I am the light in the tower stoically leading Paul Revere to warn the troops of danger. My light burns strong, bright, and cannot be extinguished. It will pulsate long into the night and will not falter even when faced with the most daunting of tasks.
When I skate, I have no fear. I will sacrifice myself for my teammates; block a shot with the intent of stopping it dead in its tracks. I do not fear anything on the ice because I cannot. I am the girl who must fight for a fair shot among boys because some do not possess the capabilities to see past the tightly braided hair down my back. When I skate I must prove my abilities. I am a valiant deer running from endless lions in a fight for a chance.
My name is not like me at all. My name wears a v-neck shirt with small yellow flowers interweaving in a pattern of sorts. My name’s pants are normal blue jeans her shoes slightly heeled with a small heart in front. My name hovers around the popular’s, a fake smile on her face.
I waltz free, a new butterfly emerging from my cocoon each day. I wear a dark green mohawk one day, a Chicago Blackhawks jersey the next. I laugh at my name’s commonality. She fits in. She is boring.
Some people are friends with their names, others even lovers. They fit like a sock and a shoe, a puzzle piece connecting with it’s long lost brother after a dark and lonely time alone in a box. That’s not how we are. Not Emma and I.
I like to dream of new names. One that fills the void left by mine’s departure. Once I learned of Emma’s commonality and boring, average ways, I forgot about our friendship. I didn’t want a name like that. Not me.
I want a name that people have never seen before. All the teachers will mispronounce it and I will smile, correct, and high five my name. My name would be funny, athletic, unique. It would not be boring.
Emma means universal. One day, I will be too. But not Emma. She’ll be dead by then, replaced by a name never before existing. One I can only hope for now.
Emma Seitz, Age 13, Grade 7, Hunter College High School, Gold Key