My name is Gina. It’s one of the more common names for Korean-American girls, which is funny because it’s an Italian name. I learned this from an Uber driver taking me to a dispensary by the highway in middle-of-nowhere Connecticut. I told him, “Funny, huh? Because I’m clearly Italian,” while gesturing at my very Asian face. We met eyes through his rearview mirror. He looked like he wanted to ask me what he was supposed to say to that and follow up with what was wrong with me. But my mom tells me she thought about my name for a long time. She tells me she even went to the library to search for baby names despite not knowing any English. In the end, she chose Gina because it means “queen.” She wanted for me to live a life she had never gotten to live.
You call out my name. I have been staring so intensely at the Santa Monica ferris wheel I love so much that, I must admit, I had forgotten you next to me. It feels so good to hear you say my name. The right to determine the color of my name had somehow been transferred to you, Sara. The lights in the center of the ferris wheel change to flash a gigantic neon pink heart when I turn to meet you. I see your nose is red because of the ocean cold. Just when I feel that I can’t help but throw my body into the navy-blue ocean beneath us, you grab my arm and smile. You smile like you want to laugh at me because you know exactly what I am thinking. You know only because you are feeling the same thing. I can never escape from you.
With hands sticky from rubbing against the swingset chains and hair plastered to the sides of our faces with sweat, we talk of soon. I feel something so heavy in my stomach I look down to check if I’ve bent the earth between my feet. I don’t understand yet. I only understand that I want to stay here with you, until the end of time.