The Name

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It is traditional for family members to offer names for a newborn. Documents and destiny forever marked with a string of disparate identities united in the newcomer. But mother was not one for tradition.

“This child will name himself,” she said. “He will be known by his exploits.”

They thought her mad. Nevertheless, I existed for a several weeks, nameless, until I proclaimed my first name. 

I had been a docile baby. Barely crying after I was first thrust from the world of water and darkness into the world of air and light. 

One night, at 11:30pm I had begun crying. I woke the whole house. Mother and father attempted to calm me, feed me, change me. Nothing worked. It was like that for a full hour, and then I stopped. Silence prevailed once again and I retired from my reign of terror to the realm of sleep, instantly. 

It wasn’t until the next morning, when father was absentmindedly reviewing the security camera footage on his laptop, split screening with the morning news, that he saw them. Four men in dark clothes had snuck up to the back door. They set down a bag and were reaching into it when my cry pierced the night. When the lights came on in the house they moved to crouch by some hedges. They waited, and waited. Eventually with the household up and forcibly alert, they crept away. 

“So that was your message,” my father said as he hovered over my cot.

My mother came over to join him.

“That will be his first name,” said my mother. “Iles.”


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