A Sketch for
by Joyce Martin Perz
Lexi’s official name was Alexandra Regina Stephanopolis. She often wondered what her parents were thinking when they gave their tiny newborn such a long name.
“A child is named for the adult she will become,” Grandmother explained.
In grade school Lexi was simply called Alex. She was a good student, but really came into her own on the playground. Alex could hit a baseball, shoot hoops and scramble up the climbing wall with the best of them – girls and boys.
“You’re a Tom Boy!” her Grandmother scolded and shook her head. “I look forward to a time when your long beautiful hair isn’t tied up in braids and you’ve grown into the name Alexandra.”
When she got to high school, Aye of a handsome senior named Greg Martin. Greg was called Marty by his friends. He named Alex ‘Steph’. The two of them became a popular couple on the teen party scene.
Martiy was a star in his own mind. He strode onto the stage as if he were born to be a leading man and soaked up the applause. Marty achieved a status usually reserved for the quarterback on a winning football team.
On graduation day, Marty took the stage to receive his diploma and his classmates chanted, “Marty! Marty! Martiy!”
The after-party was legendary. Marty hit on every girl. Rumor had it that he ‘got lucky’ with most of them. Steph left the party early. She cried into her pillow all night and the next morning she took a shower, colored her hair a bright blond and refused to speak to Marty on the phone or when he came to the house.
“Marty and Steph are over!” she yelled through the closed front door.
“From now on I want to be called Lexi,” she announced to her family. By this time they were accustomed to her name changes and everyone repeated her most recent choice, “Lexi.”
That is everyone in the family except Grandmother. “Lexi? What kind of name is that? Isn’t that some kind of car?”
“The car is a Lexus,” Lexi calmly corrected her. “Lexi is a modern, upbeat name for an independent young woman.”
“If you say so,” Grandmother grumbled. “I look forward to the day when you agree to be called Alexandra Regina Stephanopolis and your hair isn’t movie-star blond.”
Lexi got tired of coloring her hair when she got into law school. She joined a study group and met Benjamin Duke Barclay. He was brilliant! Ben explored every nuance of a case and cited obscure decisions that were pertinent to his argument. Opponents groaned when Ben argued against them in moot court and point-by-point demolished their case.
After Ben passed the Bar Exam, he invited Lexi to a celebration dinner. They went to an elegant restaurant and Lexi raised her glass in a toast, “Congratulations to Ben.”
“Thank you, Lexi,” he said. “Now that I’ve been hired by a major law firm, I think I should go by Benjamin, instead of Ben. What do you think?”
“Benjamin Barclay is a perfect name for a successful attorney. I must admit, I’ve had more than one nickname in my day.”
“In grade school I was called Benji,” he told her.
“I was Alex,” Lexi said. They laughed and enjoyed a wonderful dinner.
When Lexi passed the Bar Exam, Benjamin threw her a party. He invited mutual friends from law school and three buddies from high school.
“I want you to meet these guys,” Benjamin told Lexi. “We’ve been friends forever.” When his friends left the party, they high-fived Benjamin, “Ask Lexi to join us for Sunday afternoon softball.” “Way to go Dog!”
“Dog?” Lexi asked.
“Last name Barclay – sounds like bark and Dogs bark – get it?”
Benjamin and Lexi had much more in common than silly nicknames. They built their careers and counted on their relationship for encouragement and support.
Lexi told her friends she was in love with Benjamin. “We trust each other and are good friends. After our careers are established, I think we’ll have a ‘forever’ future.”
Lexi was stunned when Ben announced he was moving. “There’s a Junior Partnership open in the Chicago office. This is a chance of a lifetime.”
She pretended to be happy for him, but didn’t see Ben before he left town. Autumn came early and Lexi found herself staring out the window, watching leaves fall and then snow turn everything in her life white and cold.
No phone calls from Benjamin. Lexi worked hard and went to the gym every day. She was surprised when FedEx delivered an envelope to her apartment, addressed to ALEX.
“Merry Christmas to my favorite Tom Boy!”
Is that how he sees me? A pal, one of the guys, a little sister?
On Valentine’s Day a box addressed to STEPH was delivered to her apartment.
“Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Dog” Inside was an adorable plush puppy.
Note from the writer: At this point, I lost interest in the story line… so……
Benjamin shows up / they get engaged. At the wedding the vows are “Do you. Alexandra Regina Stephanapolis take this man, Benjamin Duke Barclay for your lawfully wedded husband?”
Alexandra says, “I do!”
Grandmother stands up and cheers.