The Naming of James Aries

(This is thanks to James Aries, who left his name in the comments section!)

You sit, note in hand. Your mother’s handwriting so pretty, so perfect. She had written it for this day. Because she knew she might not be here with you. You almost didn’t want to read it. Last night, you were tempted to toss it into the fire, burning brightly in the grate in your room. But your fingers, as if glued to the parchment, wouldn’t let you. So you slept, with note in hand. Until this morning.

Heart pumping, throat dry, you slipped your finger through the wax, sealing the note. And let the pieces part, revealing her curvey, inky, words. And here you sit now, not yet taking in their meaning; not yet wanting to read what she wrote. For some reason, it’s as if the moment you do, it’ll signify your acceptance of her passing and of you readying yourself for your Naming.

But you haven’t. You don’t.

A knock on the door. You look up, smearing the tears across your face with the back of your hand. “Come in,” you muster.

Blonde hair, warm smile, blue eyes, she enters. Your best friend. She sits next to you on the bed, hand on your back, head against your shoulder. Like always, she never has to say anything to make things right.

“I can’t read it,” you say.

She holds out her hand and you pass it on to her. For a few seconds, she’s silent, eyes flitting across the paper. A tear rolls down her cheek and a smile creeps up her face. “You’ll love this,” she finally says, turning to you. “Trust me.”

You take it. Nod, then read:

“James, my sweet son. My creative, passionate firecracker. I’m sorry I’m not there today, but know that inside of you, I’ll always remain. No matter your Naming, no matter your future, no matter your life-path, know that I love you. I admire you. I believe in you. Do not let this hold you back. Instead, let it propel you on to greater things. In the end, we’ll see each other again. Love forever and always, mom.”

It’s as if a fire blazes inside of you and suddenly, you can do anything. You stand, fold the parchment, and stick it in your back pocket. Then, with a deep breath, you face your best friend, hand out. “I’m ready now. You?”

With a smile and a nod, she puts her hand in yours and walks with you out into the living room. Out where family sits and stands and stares at you, all waiting for silent instructions on how to respond. So you smile at them. And as if a collective breath is sighed, your family smiles back.

Then you see her, the Reader. She looks at you, like a statue. Sizes you up while circling you, silently. You take your seat and let her continue. A heavy hush falls over the room. Earlier, it would have taken everything in you to stay seated. But now, something’s changed. Now, you sit tall; you stare straight into the Reader’s eyes and smile. Let her define you. Let your Naming come. Because whatever it is, you’re ready.

She reaches into a small pouch around her waist, producing a quill and piece of parchment, and for a few breathless seconds, lets the quill swim across the paper. Ink forms letters you can’t yet see. You almost don’t need to see. Confidence of who you are seeps through you.

Finally, she holds out the parchment. No one yet, not even the Reader knows what your Naming has revealed. Until you grasp the paper in your hands. You breathe deep.

Then speak.

“James Aries. Courageous.”

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