By Any Other Name

I never understood the appeal of royalty names—Victoria, Elizabeth, Eleanor—but when I met her, her rich chocolate hair cascading over creamy skin, it made some kind of sense. Ironically, she hated her full name (“Call me Betty,” she said, extending a neatly manicured hand when we’d met.), much like she despised any hints of pretentious grandeur.

She fascinated me. Her eyes were like bright topaz jewels changing hues in the light, and her laughter was bright and cheery. I could close my eyes and picture her in a painting, which I often did.

Especially after she was gone.

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