You Don't Know My Name(6)By: Kristen Orlando
“Hey, MacMillan,” a voice calls at me from the lunch line. I turn around to see Malika carrying a blue lunch tray. “Share my nachos?”
“Always,” I answer and spin back around.
MacMillan. Out of all my Black Angel cover-up last names, MacMillan may be my favorite. I’ve always been Reagan. But I’ve been lots of Reagans. Reagan Moore. Reagan Bailey. Reagan Klein. Reagan Schultz. No one has ever known my real name. Reagan Elizabeth Hillis. It’s been so long since I’ve said my real name out loud that sometimes I have to think about it. It sounds ridiculous that I’d actually have to use any brainpower to know my name, but while it’s only for a fleeting moment, sometimes I do. I’ve heard my mother say the older she gets, the more she really has to think about how old she is. When you’re seven or seventeen, you never have to think about your age. She says as you get older, there’s that split second where she has to ask herself, Wait, am I forty-eight or forty-nine? That’s how I feel about my real name. And the more new last names I get, the longer that beat is in remembering who I really am.
It always happens the same way. As soon as I’m comfortable with a last name, I’m forced to forget it. My parents’ cover will be in jeopardy or we’re being watched and we’ll have to get out of town. And every time we load up the car in the middle of the night and pull down our street for the last time, I feel like a piece of me is stripped away. I’ve never told my parents that. I don’t want to make them feel bad. But it’s like a version of myself—Reagan Moore or Bailey or Schultz or whoever I was there—dies and becomes a splintered shadow for anyone who ever knew that Reagan. When I get my new name and new cover story, it’s like that Reagan—that fractured piece of myself—never really existed. I don’t talk about it. I don’t tell anyone the truth about where we were or what my life was like. I have to make up a whole new set of lies and repeat them over and over again until they become truth. I make the girl I was just a few months ago disappear.
“Hey, girls,” Malika says, setting her tray down next to me. She lifts up her left leg to climb over the bench, forgetting about her very short red skirt.
“Holy inappropriateness,” Harper says, covering her eyes with both hands.
“What’d I do?” Malika asks, settling into her seat.
“You kind of just gave the entire school a look at the goods,” I say and pat her bare knee.
“Well, it’s not like I’m not wearing underwear,” Malika says and throws her slick black hair over her shoulder.
“Yes. I like the pink flamingos, Mal,” Harper answers and gives her a wink.
With a Japanese mother and Pakistani father, Malika is hard not to notice in WASP-y New Albany, Ohio. Plus, she’s what I like to call stupid pretty. So beautiful, she strikes you dumb and stumbling.
“Malika, what do you think this is, a strip club?” a voice says from behind me. I know who it is before I even turn around. Everyone knows the low, raspy voice of Madison Scarborough. “But then again, it’s nothing half the guys in this room haven’t seen before.”
“Hey, I’m only a make-out slut,” Malika says, pointing a finger to her chest. “I don’t take off my clothes.”
“Whatever. A slut is a slut,” Madison says, rolling her startling blue eyes. I open my mouth to zing her but she’s already turned on her heel to head to the field hockey girls’ table.
“Don’t worry,” I say, linking my arm with Malika’s. “I’ll get her back later.”
I learned how to hack into computers during one of my summer training camps in China. In about ninety seconds, I can hack into the school’s computer system and change grades, attendance records, anything. It’s child’s play compared to the other systems I’ve mastered. By tonight, Madison will have a D in physics and the field hockey captain will be promptly benched for Saturday’s rivalry game against Upper Arlington. I’ll change it back Monday. Madison totally deserves the D for all the mean-girl crap she pulls on a daily basis. But I only use my spy skills for short spurts of vengeance evil.