This is the name. The best, strangest, most difficult to wrap my head around name that I have ever heard. It belongs to a young girl who likes to read fashion and gossip magazines in the library while sucking her fingers, like a small child would suck her thumb. She is very sweet, but her eyes always seem a little glazed over when I tell her that lunch is over, it's time to go to class. My guess is that she spends a lot of time in front of a TV. Her name makes me think of ducks. It is a wonderful name to say aloud, and I find myself adding an extra U as the next to last letter to make the name sound just a bit more rolling, a little more like it came from some long-ago language spoken by sun-baked ancestors. The name is...
Yes, Tommaniqueck(u)a, the goddess of harvest and light.
Or, Tommaniqueck(u)a, a warrior princess riding a great, tamed beast.
Tommaniqueck(u)a, who betrayed her people and brought down a curse upon them.
Tommaniqueck(u)a, who lives with her grandmother near a solitary pond and can communicate with the geese and swans who live among them.
Tommaniquek(u)a, a fierce and vengeful sorceress, dressed in animal skins and a crown of sharp teeth.
I could go on and on like this for hours. Say her name again and again and I think you'll know what I mean. The added U is necessary for me, since the harsh ending sound of the true spelling (Tom-an-eek-eck-a) does not inspire such glorious possibilities. It does however, better fit the small, fragile, dazed girl in the corner, sucking her fingers and reading about glitz and glamor.
The years go by and the names get more elaborate, more challenging for the unsuspecting teacher reading the roll for the first time, more filled with apostrophes (Arie'L, for example), and more exotic. Eight years ago, Tanjalay Lovelady crossed my classroom threshold and I thought that no name would ever be better than hers. It was so satisfying to say. One couldn't help but grin at the thought of the parent who lovingly chose it, declared it, and had it written in stone. But honestly, Tommaniquecka brings things to an entirely new level. I cannot wait for the name that I will someday find that will make Tommaniquecka sound like Mary or Beth. Just imagine the possibilities. It makes me giddy.