What’s In a Name?

The red digital clock above her brand new oven shone through the
kitchen- 10:24. Bryana was home much later than usual- it reminded her of
the hours she used to work in New York. She found the nanny half-asleep on
the living room couch, watching ER. After Bryana had paid her for the day
and apologized profusely for her tardiness, she tiptoed into Aubrie’s room.
Bryana kissed her daughter’s forehead and brushed a lock of blond hair out
of her eyes.
Returning to the kitchen, Bryana put on the kettle. Even though she
was supposedly a new person, the divorce lawyer refused to give up her
nightly rituals. Cranberry tea, one packet of sugar, one of Sweet and Low,
and of course a hint of cinnamon, just like she had enjoyed every night in
the Big Apple. While she waited for the water to boil, Bryana pulled back
her short, red hair and slipped out of her pinstripe suit. She threw on a
pair of boucle sweats and an old Sienna College sweatshirt that her best
friend had lent her years and years ago. She settled into her sofa and
stared out the window at the rain.
So this was her new identity, her third in six years. A new
apartment, a new nanny, a new name. Time to pick up and move, they had told
her, your cover’s been blown. She had been Anna, Meghan, and of course,
Alexandra, but now she was none of them. She was Bryana.
But Alexandra. Alex was the life she missed the most. She missed her
parents, her friends in NYC, her job as an Assistant District Attorney.
Alexandra, meaning “defender of mankind.” She had always lived up to her
name, putting away child molesters and rapists and murderers. Being strong,
and stubborn, and seldom making deals. She and her friends had been out to
save the world.
Friends, she had had the best friends in the world, friends who
helped her through anything, a bullet to the shoulder, a midnight meeting,
a hasty goodbye, and a false funeral notwithstanding.
First there was John, John Munch. John from the Hebrew, meaning “God is
gracious.” John hadn’t always exactly worn his heart on his sleeve, but
Alex knew he felt a lot about the emotionally draining cases of the SVU
that he hadn’t shown, and that his Jewish faith was always in his mind to
help him through it. John, who had given up on love. John, with his sarcasm
and gallows humor, never failed to lighten the mood. John, she missed.
Of course there was Cragen, Captain Donald Cragen, the first member of the
SVU Alex had ever met. She chuckled to herself, remembering how reluctant
he had been to allow her to join their team, that day in 2000 at the Morris
Commission. Donald, meaning “world leader.” So Don wasn’t a world leader,
per say, but he was sure as hell a great leader of the Special Victims
Unit. Don, she missed.
And George. George was the opposite of his name. George meaning “farmer”
and Huang meaning “rich.” George had been the intellectual of the group,
though sometimes he seemed to hold it over them. The doc could be
patronizing, but on any occasion when Alex had needed psychological advice,
he had been there, whether for a case or for herself. George, she missed.
Ha, and Fin, Odafin Tutuola. Fin from Narcotics, Fin from “the hood.” Fin
who’s name was as much a mystery to Alex as his person. Though he seemed
tough, Fin was a sweet guy, and that was pretty much the extent of Alex’s
knowledge about him. Fin, she missed.
There was Elliot Stabler. Elliot, meaning “close to god.” Elliot with his
four kids and strong convictions. Elliot who never gave up on a case, whose
name suited him as well as Alex’s because he never gave up on his faith as
a catholic either, no matter what horrendous acts he witnessed. Elliot
who’s religious beliefs gave him incentive to be an even better cop.
Elliot, who knew her secret. Elliot, she missed.
And Liv, who could forget Olivia Benson. Olivia, from the Latin meaning
“olive tree” and therefore “peace.” Irony, as that had always been Olivia’s
goal. Peace, that is. Peace for the victims, peace for herself. Despite the
fact that Olivia sometimes got a little too personally involved and
jeopardized the case, Alex and she had been the best of friends. Alex
sometimes regretted sharing her secret with Olivia, giving her such a brief
goodbye, putting her through attending a fake funeral and having to pretend
she was mourning. But that’s what friends are for, to share your juiciest
secrets. Olivia, she missed.
The shrill whistle of the teapot split the air and Bryana Robert’s
thoughts. It wasn’t worth it, crying for her old life. It was over, and she
should make the best of this one. She touched her shoulder, reminding
herself why she could never go back. With her tea, Bryana shuffled into her
bedroom, stopping once more to check on Aubrie. Aubrie, her four year old
daughter. Aubrie, her constant reminder of Alexandra. Aubrie, meaning
“blond ruler,” who represented everything she missed. Bryana could only
hope that Aubrie would have a life, that she would always be Aubrie and not
Elizabeth or Aimee or Carrie. She hoped Aubrie could know herself.
Bryana set her tea on her bedside table and snuggled under her cushy down
comforter. ‘Bryana,’ she thought, ‘Bryana meaning “strong.”‘

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