She could never get used to that name. Since childhood, she would hear her someone calling and it would take a lingering moment for her to realize it was attached to her. She never liked it. It rang prude aristocrat. If there were no choice other than to be imprinted with a snobbish name, it would be preferable if it were snobby and popular and fun, like Claudia or Brittany, or pretentious and confident, like Hillary. Annette– both the name and the namesake– was neither. She was not confident, or what others might call fun; she did not like to waste time with dalliances and petty commentary with people she didn’t much care for. That did make her a little bit pretentious and snobby, but not aristocratic. She was a working student, and her parents both worked when most mothers stayed at home.
Still, she was fun to the people she did like and care about– she was openly friendly and animated with strangers– that is, when they passed her immediate judgment test. Hypocritically, she disliked people she perceived as pretentious or dreary. She was not aware that she was somewhat pretentious. After all, her name was Annette.
She had a long list of friends from the different and disparate phases in her life, but as she grew older, she became more dissatisfied with her relationships. It’s obvious that it was plainly the passage of time. Friends became preoccupied with new aspects of lives– first it was the prom, university, the thesis, and later, the fiance, the wedding, babies. She didn’t blame them.
Gillian– a friend for almost 15 years– had changed so much in recent years that it was hard for Annette to justify their relationship. Gillian, as sweet as she was, had leechlike charactertistics. It wasn’t unusual for Gillian to disappear, but their friendship was easily picked up as if there were no lingering questions of where she had gone and what she had done and why.
Gillian and Annette had ongoing lunch plans at their favorite cafe and Annette showed up five minutes late, harried from rushing. She was hungover. She waited and Gillian never showed up. She called and left messages. No answer. She emailed, sent a letter to her work address, and contacted her boyfriend, presumably left behind. He didn’t know and he was pissed, refusing to address her by her proper name any longer, instead using “bitch” or “skank”. Still, he called Annette every few months to let her know he received a postcard from an tropical location, always postmarked from different islands. Not much, just a simple message, often without a sign-off: “Doing well. Reading!”
A year and half later, Gillian called her and asked to brunch but offered no other explanation.