Quick story that I have never told anyone, ever.
When I was in gym class in tenth grade, none of my close friends were in it with me. On day one I assessed the situation and quickly glomped onto a group of girls that I sort of, kind of knew and made an effort to hang out with them so I would always have a group to play volleyball or badminton with. High school survival skills. Anyway, I knew all their names… except for one girl. I vaguely thought her name was probably Tricia. But I avoided using her name, because I wasn’t completely sure, and after two weeks of doing laps around the gym and chilling in the locker room together, it was getting more and more awkward to ask. Besides, in a school our size, it wasn’t really permissible to not know someone’s name. I doubt we all knew everyone’s names, but if you didn’t know it, you didn’t ask. We were kind of on the borderline. Our school wasn’t small enough to know everybody, but it wasn’t big enough to act like you’d never seen them before. I could’ve checked the yearbook, because we’d both been a part of this school system for most of our lives and she was definitely in there, but this idea only ever occurred to me during gym class, and by the end of the school day I’d forgotten.
One day, however, I was forced to say, “Tricia, pass!” during a misguided attempt on our gym teachers’ part to make us all play field hockey. I just threw caution to the winds and went for it. And she passed to me, and I thought, “So that is her name,” and I felt vindicated. I felt powerful. I was a knower of names.
And so for the next few months, I called her Tricia. By now you’ve probably surmised by now that this wasn’t her name. It wasn’t. Her name was Kate. But she never corrected me. Tricia wasn’t even CLOSE to Kate, but she just went with it. Looking back, I have no idea what she thought about this or why she never took me aside and said seriously, “Okay, what the hell?” I just don’t. And it will remain a mystery until the end of time.