What does it mean to be worthy of a name?
I was supposed to do great things – that’s what she kept telling me.
“Nathan Nightingale. We’re saving you for something special.”
The first half of my life was spent listening to her coo over me. She would protect me from her world; keeping me out of sight, but always within her reach.
“You’ll do great things,” she told me, “I’m just not sure what yet.”
The second half of my life was spent trying to figure out what it was that I could do.
She didn’t want me to break hearts because “that’s what they all do, dear.” I was supposed to be better than that.
“You’re Nathan Nightingale. You are merely too important to break hearts.”
I was too proper to go into space. I was too pretty to go to war. I was too perfect to be just another high school anti-hero.
I lingered in the dark corner she had long since placed me in. She’d forget about me for months on end before tripping over herself screaming my name.
It always came back to my name.
“I could be a prince,” I suggested. She sat at her desk, looking in my direction but seeming to be staring right through me.
“No… a prince is expected. And besides, I’m no regal advisor.”
I didn’t have a path in life. We could never find one, and with each new failure, I would retreat back into my dark corner with my head and self-esteem lower than the time before.
“They always tell you the name is the most important part, Nathan Nightingale, but they never tell you how to plan the rest.”
She never asked what I wanted to be. She never let me tell my own story. I was always there. Always listening to what script she would lay out for me, only to rip it away again.
“This is no story for Nathan Nightingale!”
I’m not sure what I would say if she asked me what I wanted to be (another thing she wants me to say). I have never been more than just a name.
Just a boy with an amazing, grand, royal, perfect name and no way to live up to it.