When I first told him to call me ‘Ma’am’, he wasn’t happy about it. It made him uncomfortable. He LIKED using my name. He half heartedly protested.
“But ‘Sharyn’ has come to mean ‘Ma’am’ to me…” he said. “That’s what it MEANS.”
I didn’t change my mind though, and he dutifully started using it. Awkwardly at first. Warming up to it as time went on.
It became second nature after a while. I’m not sure how long it took. But it started slipping off his tongue easily, became a sweetness between us. To the point where using my name was a strange thing, out of place and odd. He only said it out loud when he was introducing me to someone and we would both smile at how foreign it felt.
“Ma’am” became my name as much as an honorific, and even after it ended and we were long past the point where it was appropriate or necessary, he still used it with me. An invisible thread to our past. I couldn’t bear to ask him to stop doing it. I never did.