50 Minutes That Make a Name

By Johanna Gabriela Hernández Schäfer

“’What’s in a name?’” by jack dorsey

I’m named after my grand­fa­thers: Johann and Juan. My name is Johan­na. Through­out my life, I’ve met many Johan­nas. At my uni­ver­si­ty alone, I know near­ly a dozen. It’s led to fun­ny and to con­fus­ing sit­u­a­tions, but it’s always been some­thing to con­nect over. On their own, my names are noth­ing to brag about: Johan­na. Gabriela. Hernán­dez. Schäfer. Johan­na and Schäfer are com­mon names in Ger­many, Gabriela and Hernán­dez are typ­i­cal Peru­vian names. Only togeth­er are they spe­cial. Only togeth­er are they me. But – had I been born 50 min­utes ear­li­er, my name might have been Paula (find out why at the end of the poem).

May 20, 2001,
St. Pauli wins the match
right before the end.

My father,
not pregnant,
sits on the couch
and watch­es the game.

My moth­er,
high­ly pregnant,
lies in the bathtub,

We went to the hos­pi­tal that day because my moth­er thought I’m on my way.

The doc­tor,
not pregnant,
not nice,
sends us back home,
not the time yet.

Lat­er, same day, at night, the con­trac­tions start again. I want to meet the world. We dri­ve to the hos­pi­tal in a taxi.

My aunt,
not pregnant,
in front of our home,
arrives too late.

The nurse,
not pregnant,
joy­ful­ly, yells
“I can see black hair. It is ‘this’ long”
motions an inch between thumb and index finger.

My moth­er,
my father’s hand,
my father’s hand,
in pain.

And then, I final­ly am out in this world. I final­ly meet the world, for the first time.

It’s 50 min­utes past mid­night on May 21, 2001. They call me Johan­na. 50 min­utes ear­li­er, on May 20, my name might have been Paula. Paula because St. Pauli won the game on May 20. Who would Paula have been?

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Johan­na Gabriela Hernán­dez Schäfer stud­ies Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion at Leuphana Uni­ver­si­ty Lüneb­urg. She’s inter­est­ed in bring­ing sus­tain­abil­i­ty to busi­ness. When she’s not busy with her stud­ies, she loves to dance.