Lost In Names

Hello once again, and it’s certainly been a while since I’ve actually did anything that was detached, or rather not a piece related to an existing series. So for today we have something new, and something that I also thought up of on a random whim (As most of these things are) after a revelation on the importance of a name. The concept or summary of this story is basically just a normal look in the day of a normal woman, with a twist. On this normal day, she finds a boy, who is unlike any other, wandering, and in search of… something. The woman guides this boy to seek out his name. Of course, I just didn’t think it was right not to leave something mystical in the mix, so of course there is still a big question of who the boy is, or rather what. But anyway, that’s for you to decide when you read, here you go,”Lost In Names”.

The wind called, the sun rose, and the leaves danced. Every day, without fail, she kept up with this rhythm. She was on her break, which meant no worries, and no obligations. However, she was quite diligent, and would always take a walk outside. Without fail, every day, she would walk outside. She would listen to the wind, watch the sun rise, and danced with the leaves. This, was her ordinary life.

Even in days, where seldom happened, she wouldn’t mind. Just simply being outside, was enough for her. There was no greater blessing, than the blessing of free will; however frugal that may be. Especially on days such as this, where the air was stale. The stagnation served as a means of opposition. It was refreshing just as much as it was suffocating. And on such suffocating days, the only thing she wanted to do, was relax.

She sat on a park bench. At this time of day, there weren’t any kids to be up to mischievous, so she didn’t find the apparent quietness to be that stifling. She simply sat, with her head held high, staring up at the clouds. With one hand up in the air, she traced the clouds, drawing pictures in her mind. Of cats, of mice, and of dragons. The clouds formed their own sonata, and, here all alone on this park bench, she had her own gallery.

For what seemed to be hours, which in reality lasted in only minutes, she sat there with her head up in the clouds. The only thing in her ears, was the soft whistling of the winds, and the ever rustling of the leaves as they danced a soft dance. Every so often, she would steal a glance, and watch as the cold steel of the swings swung ever so slightly in the graces of the wind. This pace of hers, matched the calming pace of the day. It was as if she was on a race, gunning for not first, but for participation. She ran not for award, but for the sake of it. She ran hand in hand with the day. That was her way of grieving away.

And, just for today, something went astray. As her hands finally got tired, and her eyes finally growing stone from staring up into the sky, she knelt her head down. Upon looking back up however, she noticed a peculiar outcome. Usually, even if she stayed in the park, there wouldn’t be much activity, however today there was a visitor. It was a boy, probably an elementary school kid, she thought. He looked lost, and he wasn’t with anybody. If his parents brought him here, he probably ran off, she thought. But it was not just the sight of seeing the boy that made her worried, it was the fact that his attire seemed off. He was wearing ragged clothes,  dirt and patches strewn all over his body. His hair was messy, and his face was unkempt.

She got up from her bench seat after observing the boy for about five minutes; coming to the conclusion that he was lost. She went up to the boy, who was now sitting at the sandbox, and called out to him, “Hey!” The boy turned, and looked up. His eyes were a sky blue, which entranced her as he bore an ocean with his stare. Like the waves, his eyes were faltering. The sympathy of a stranger was not commonplace, she thought. But she just couldn’t leave him alone, not if he was truly lost.

“Where are you parents?” She asked.

“Parents?”

“Yeah. You know, your mom and dad.” She tried her best to sound sincere and spoke softly. She kept appearances with a small gentle smile. She truly tried her best to seem harmless.

“My mom…. and dad?” But the kid seemed clueless, almost in a frightening manner, she thought. There was a fine line between a meddling child’s curiosity, and pure curiosity. This child exuded the latter, and he wasn’t fidgeting. The ocean waves crashed into each other with ferocity; unwavering ferocity. There was only one explanation that the woman could think of, but she didn’t want that to be true.

“Then… are you lost?” Instead, she decided another approach.

“Lost? I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think so?”

“I was just walking over there, miss.” The boy pointed in an arbitrary direction, and the woman arbitrarily followed his fingers. Of course, it was pointed in a direction that would yield no answers. However, that did give the woman some clues. So the boy was wandering, she thought.

“Then…. where do you want to go?” She asked politely.

“Where I want to go? I don’t know.” Dealing with kids wasn’t easy, she thought.

“Maybe I can help you find somewhere you want to go, how about that?”

“You’ll help me miss?”

“Sure!” She tried her best to smile the brightest she could. The child even followed along, and gave her a big grin as well. She ruffled with his hair but then remembered something important, “Oh yeah, what’s your name?”

“My… name?” It was another expression filled with pure curiosity. This time, she was gravely worried. The child looked at her with complete attentiveness. The woman didn’t know how to respond, but had to think up something. If anything, she knew that playing along with a child’s antics would be the best course of action. Leading the child on so that they would play to their tune was better than forcing them on hers.

“Then in that case…. want to look for your name?”

“Sure!” For a second the child seemed strangely ecstatic, “But… what is a name, miss?” Which was just curiosity filled happiness.

“A name is something you give to something  or someone else.” For a lack of better explanation.

“You mean like a gift?”

“No…. well, I guess it is a gift to have a name… but it’s more like… a natural occurrence.” The child simply looked at the woman as she talked, not really understanding what she was saying. The woman cleared her throat, and tried again.

“A name is a gift. But, not everything or everyone has a name, right? Like you for example.”

“Right!” His smile and his innocence contrasted with the faults that were hidden within him. Such an existence couldn’t be real, or so she hoped.

“But having a name is really normal. ”

“So a name is a normal thing?”

“Yeah. For example, can you tell me what that is?” She pointed over to a tree, which the boy aptly responded as so. She then pointed to the sand, which the boy also knew the name of. Finally, she pointed up to the sky, and the boy gave her a clear concise answer that rang within his eyes. Then, as to really hammer the point home, she gave him a little quiz.

“Which season does snow fall in?”

“Winter.”

“When is it dark out?”

“Nighttime.”

“What keeps the light up during the day?”

“Sun.” The woman then ruffled with the boys hair once again, as if to show that he had gotten a perfect score on the pop quiz. The woman then took a deep breath in and said, “Those are all names. A tree, the sand, the sky. Winter, nighttime, the sun. It’s all names. You see how you knew all of them just like that?”

“Yeah! Well, it’s because those are things everybody knows, miss!”

“But, those are all names you know.”

“Those are all names?” The boy titled his head to further add in his confusion.

“Yeah! Every object has a name, just like the sand, just like that tree. And everyone has a name as well.”

“Oh… I think I get it now. Miss Anderson, Mister Felix, and even Jane. Those are their names, right?”

“Yes!” The woman took in the names of the people the child had said. A teacher? Two teachers perhaps? And a friend to boot. So this kid really was just a normal kid, she thought. But then… he doesn’t really know what a name is, huh, she thought. What a strange way to come about, knowing what to call something, but not knowing what that something to call even is, she thought.

“So, then do you know your name now?” The woman asked once more.

“No… I think I know what a name is now.” He looked down, “But I don’t remember ever being called something other than….. a kid. Is that my name?” Just what kind of people has he been growing up with, she thought.

“No, that’s not your name. Don’t ever think that’s your name, okay?” She said it in a scolding manner, which made him simply nod his head in agreement. If he really didn’t have a name… then she just simply would have to find him one. That was her firm resolution. If he was an orphan, then so be it, but simply having no name is too cruel, she thought. No parents, no one to hold onto, not even an identity, is something that she could never understand.

“Then, would you like your own name?” She asked nicely.

“My own name?” The boy honestly looked troubled. As if…. having a name would be a problem. As if, he did not deserve such formalities. It was a foreign concept, and perhaps it was due to his upbringing, that he was so used to the foreign.

“Do you not?” The woman asked tenderly once again.

“I don’t know miss….” He looked sad, troubled, and about to burst into tears. The woman had a half panic, not sure why he was so troubled. It was a question, and he even answered…what was wrong? The woman could not figure it out. After all, she was playing into his tune.

“Then, why don’t we find you a name, and see if you like it? You can decide then, right?” She defused the situation.

“Will you help me find a name, miss?”

“Of course.” She smiled to calm him down, which worked. Now the hard part, is upholding that duty.  She took the boys hands, and walked him around town. The morning was growing weak, and more and more people were flooding the hollow streets. The boy seemed to be unaware of the place they were at, which was evident by the way he looked so scared by everything. A store would pop up at a corner, a person he never saw would catch him off guard, and even a car would frighten him. It was clear that he didn’t go outside very often if this was his reaction, she thought. These things were common place, after all.

The walk was growing thin, as the boy grew tired from his heavy breathing. The woman decided to sit them down on a nearby pedestrian bench. She sat at one corner, with the boy next to him. His eyes were growing heavy. They walked a lot, but nothing struck a chord with her. Nothing popped out to her that would give him a good name. Nor did he have a revelation either.  As the boy dozed off by her side, she decided to look up into the sky once again. The clouds were moving methodically, and as she traced her fingers to draw on her blue-ward canvas, a thought struck her.

“Sky…. no maybe ocean, I did think that at first. Wave? Nah that’s silly…” She suddenly felt a tugging beside her. She placed her hand on top of the boys head, “Sorry, was I too loud?” He shook his head with heavy eyes, “You just seemed so angry.”

“Angry? No, I wasn’t angry.”

“Then what’s wrong?”

“I’m just…. thinking aloud.”

“About my name?”

“Yeah, about your name. I thought, since your eyes are so blue, and that they were really pretty, I would find a name related to that.”

“My eyes?”  The boy looked down onto the ground, while his head rested on the woman’s shoulder. He didn’t seem too troubled, so the woman continued to think. While she was thinking, she noticed a man approach the bench, she didn’t seem too bothered. However, the child beside her dozed off a little too much, and somehow ended up swaying across the park bench. The man didn’t seem to notice, and was about to sit just where the boy was.

“STOP!” The woman yelled. The man immediately backed off,  not knowing what was going on. His eyes were fixated on only the woman as she frantically got up. Once she realized what happened, she grabbed the boy up and ran off. When she finally found a moments to rest, she decided to put the boy down, who was still half asleep.

“Sorry, I really woke you up this time, huh?”

“Hey miss.”

“Yeah?”

“When we were walking in the town. A lot of people looked at you.”

“Looked at me?”

“It’s because you were talking to me.”

“That’s because I was explaining things to you. To look out for cars. To properly apologize to people when you walk in their way…. even though they didn’t mind. But, It’s more fun to talk while walking, isn’t it?” She gave a tired smile.

“Miss, I think it’s time for me to go.” The woman thought  he had to go back to wherever he came from. But judging from the way he was trudging through town, she was worried if he even knew where that was. She heaved a large sigh, and looked up into the sky once again. The clouds were racing.

“Miss… you look up a lot.”

“I do?” As she noticed the fact to the seeming fiction, she grew embarrassed, “Yeah, I do. It’s because I like it a lot.”

“You like looking up?”

“Not so much looking up. But I like the sky.”

“The sky?”

“Yeah! Why don’t you try too!” She used her fingers to guide his eyes up into the sky. The clouds were drifting. And the calm of it calmed him as well.

“It’s pretty, right?” She looked over her shoulder to the boy.

“Yeah,” The boy said with a nod, “It looks like this during the winter.”

“The sky is the same all season round,” She said jokingly.

“But…. it’s not. That’s what… Jane said.”

“Oh? What did Jane say?”

“She said, that the sky changes with the season. And that each season is important.”

“Well…. Jane sure is well informed.”

“She said, that summer brings heat, fall lets the leaves go, spring let’s them up, and winter brings the cold.” The woman smiled at the analogy.

“Which season do you like the most?” She asked.

“I don’t know. Summer is really hot. Fall and spring are okay. But winter is really cold.”

“But in the winter, you get snow, right?”

“I love snow!”

“So, do you love winter?”

“I don’t know…” The woman sighed once again, a small sigh albeit. Then, a thought ran through her mind. It was a simple answer. However, a bit in the moment, but it wouldn’t hurt, she thought.

“Then, you can be Winter.”

“Miss?”

“Your name, is Winter. A bit androgynous, but whatever!”

“My name?”

“Yeah! Why don’t you take it? Your eyes are blue… no, you like the snow right? You like winter? So, become it!”

“I can be…. winter?”

“Yeah! If you really want to, you can be anything you want. Even when people try to bring you down, you have to fight back, you know! But, there are some things you just can’t be, and that’s when you have to dream. But even so, you move on. ” The woman forgot she was speaking to a child, and was slightly embarrassed by her preaching observations on life. But, that’s why she said them to him anyway, because he was a child. Even when things are murky, even when things may not make sense, you trudge on anyway, she thought.

“My name…. is Winter,” The boy said.

“My name is Winter,” The boy repeated.

“I am Winter,” The boy perked up with firm confidence.

“Miss! My name is Winter! Miss!” The boy began shaking the woman with a big smile on his face. His energy exuded from every pore in his body, and even the woman couldn’t help but be energetic with him. She was intoxicated by the boy’s energy, by Winter’s energy.  So much so, that she forgot to take the child seriously.

“Miss! Thank you for finding my name. If it wasn’t for you, I would never have remembered it!”

“Ha ha, you’re welcome!”

“Then, I really have to go now! It was so much fun walking with you, miss!”

“Yeah! I had fun too!” Then, all of a sudden, she realized something. The boy said… he never would have remembered it. The woman quickly looked to the boy, who now had a smile of resolve; a smile of completion, and without warning, a large gust of wind enveloped the woman. The woman had to use both her arms to protect her against the wind, which obstructed her view of the boy. Just as the wind was subsiding, she heard a faint voice, “Thank you”, It was the voice of the boy. But in front of the woman, the boy was no longer.

The woman turned towards the sky once again. She looked up at the clouds, and began drawing on her canvas.  This time, she thought out loud, “The wind called, the sun rose and the leaves danced. The summer brings heat, and fall sweeps it away. Once spring comes, we’re back anew, but even so, winter comes even quicker. Once it’s finally here, you don’t realize just how quickly it leaves as well”, she sighed, but couldn’t keep a grin from her face. Just who was that boy, she thought.  Either way she listened to the wind, watched the sun rise, and danced with the leaves. Just like any other day.

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