“Whuddabout the othuh name?” I asked. “Whea you git Oshea from?”
“I got it from this music artist I used tuh like,” my dad answered, again with little explanation.
I thought through the old-school artists I knew my dad listened to, but the name Oshea did not jog my memory of late-80’s/early-90’s hip hop and R&B artists. “What artist?” I asked intrigued by the mystery.
“It was a rapper from this rap group I used tuh listen to,” he said. “You know Ice Cube?”
“Of course, I know Ice Cube!” How would I not know Ice Cube? I thought.
“Yeh…Oshea is his rill name.”
Woaw… It is? I thought about it. I guess I never thought of what his real name might be. It wasn’t actually Craig.
But the other side of me was horrified, “oh no! you named me after a rapper!?” How juvenile is that? I felt. Not only have I been named after a celebrity, but I’m black and I’ve been named after a rapper? But I considered it a bit. I suppose he was only a kid at the time I’d been born. And he’d named his baby after his favorite musician. I sighed. It was understandable.
“Naw, see I thought he was smart.” My dad continued unexpectedly and rambled on in his usual inspiring and thoughtful way. “He was rill smart, Robyn. He came from nuthin, you know? They ain’t haav nuthin. He was justa rappuh! But din he started actin’ in movies and producin’. He got his own TV show! He was a smart bihzniss man, you know… ‘Nd so I liked that… So I named’joo aftuh him.” My dad talked, and I found myself nodding on the other end of the phone.
This whole time and I never knew my middle name was a masterpiece comprised of my father’s highest honors of a down-to-earth woman and an admirable and clever businessman and artist. There was so much time, thought and love that went into the name he’d given me. I decided I would cherish it forever.
After I’d talked to my friend, I’d thought of who Tasha might have been for my dad. I loved this boy, terribly. And I know he loves me. And I knew things could go awry and be horrible for the both of us but still I didn’t want to let him go; because despite all of the cons, I knew we had what it takes to make each other smile for a lifetime. But if he really didn’t want that life with me, then there was nothing I could do about it.
But I’d hoped I touched his heart like Tasha did for my father. Whoever she was, her personality left such an impression on him that he thought of her name the day his daughter was born and bestowed upon my life all the great memories her name held for him. What a pleasure she must have been?
I hope the memories of me will inspire my friend as he names his first little girl, the joy of his heart, upon whose cheek he will flutter a million kisses. I smiled so much with Robyn, he’d say. I hope I smile just as much with you. I hope that, if nothing else, even my name will bring him joy for a lifetime. After all, he was that friend in college who’d liked my middle name.
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