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What’s in a Name?

What belongs to you, but everyone else uses it? Your name.

“Hey ____,” I hear the sound of my best friend, Abigail. I think she’s calling me by name. As the word leaves her mouth, it softens and muffles, like we’re deep underwater. This is what always happens when she says my name. I have never heard my name spoken to me, though it is spoken to me often. “Tonight is going to be so much fun!” 

“Ahh, oh my gosh! Abby! It’s going to be amazing!” I offer my friend the same enthusiasm. At the sound of the nickname her gaze becomes a little distant. Abigail experiences the same thing as I do in relation to her own name. Then the moment is over. Abigail smiles at me, and I can see her teeth. Almost all of them. I smile back at her. I had almost forgotten our plans to see international pop superstar, High Voltage tonight. I’m even wearing his handsome face emblazoned on my t-shirt. He smiles at Abigail from the fabric, and there are far too many teeth showing between the three of us on this little corner of the bus. 

No one in this world can hear the sound of their own name spoken to them. No matter the name, the sound of it is diminished in our own ears, reduced to nothing more than a mere echo. We know it is ours through the feeling of familiarity and intimacy the word carries. Those feelings are not conveyed by the sound of our names, but rather the feelings with which they are said to us.

We arrive at the concert venue with plenty of time to spare. Abigail snickers to see his posters are still being hung up around the wide open lobby. His probing yellow eyes (So dreamy!) stare down at us from the vinyl, and we stare back. We’ve both dreamed of seeing High Voltage in person, and now we’re finally about to. We both agree he’s the most handsome man alive.

In our premium seating we can see every inch of High Voltage’s face as the concert blares around us. It’s better than the highest resolution fancam. Better than the flashy music videos with top-notch editing. His sculpted cheekbones are illuminated in the purple concert lighting, and he winks at someone a couple seats down from Abigail. The two of us shriek, and I have to catch her as she almost faints. It’s a beautiful performance.

At the end of the night, High Voltage smiles out at all his fans. He’s been dampened by sweat, but he bounces around the stage with the endless energy all the same. 

“Thank you all!”

“WOOO HOOO! WE LOVE YOU HIGH VOLTAGE!” Abigail and I join in the screaming cheers of the crowd. A chant starts up somewhere in the back of the seating, and Abigail and I have only barely joined in before he raises a hand.

“And High Voltage loves you all.” He’s said he loves us! We of course go crazy over this revelation, screaming and crying and giggling with glee. But, suddenly the man onstage is sagging. His face is twisted in a frown. He speaks again.

“I love you all. High Voltage— High Volt.”

The opening guitar sequence to his chart-topping single begins to play, but High Voltage doesn’t move. Some fans keep chanting ‘High Voltage, High Voltage’. But he stands still, now almost unerringly. 

Over the guitar, he speaks, “I can’t hear my name. I can’t hear High Voltage.” 

“Over the weekend, at one of the largest concert turnouts of his career, Derrick Taylor, otherwise known as the sensational performance talent, High Voltage, lost his true name as he was thanking fans onstage. The celebrity reported being unable to hear the chants of his stage name from fans, and was heard shouting this statement to his audience as he was escorted offstage. His manager tells us that he will be taking a break from public appearances, and that there is not yet a confirmed date for his return to the stage.”




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