Red Lines

I remember learning about an ancient Chinese legend in my elementary years; it says that each person is born with a destined lover, and pairs are connected through invisible red strings. The red string of fate.

In America, I grew to become more familiar with a different type of red strings though: the jagged, red underline that seemed to have grown very fond of my name as I type. It follows my name like an uncanny shadow.

No, not my English name. Microsoft Word acknowledges the existence of that name. My real name, the legal one on my student ID card that my friends would attempt to learn how to pronounce correctly.

“We named you after Mencius,” my mom once said thoughtfully over the roar of the kitchen exhaust fans: another feast in the making. “Oh, and the latitude,” she added while struggling to remove a stubborn cleaver that lodged itself into a stern squash.

“What made you guys think that it is a good idea to name your kid after those boring lines running through our globe?” I questioned in return.

“Well,” she wiggled the cleaver free, a nearly victorious smile beaming upon her face. “It is meant to be a…blessing, that you will be moral, fair like a ruler…that you will be one with integrity.”

Does that even matter when Microsoft does not have the integrity to recognize this blessing as a word?

Or maybe, there might come a time when I can see the little red squiggle as a part of a larger cord that latches my unaccepted name onto me for all of eternity.

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