Nobody, Really

My parents named me Nobody.... Yeah, I don't get it, either.

I suppose a sense of humor has to count for something, in this world. Mom and Dad, they're the total ideal: four docile kids, perfectly mediocre jobs, and a life in Leave It To Beaver suburbia. Really, they've got to have some kind of quirk or they'd have gone on a serial spree years ago. Imagine the news footage: Mom swinging her hoover like a club or coming up behind her victims with a curling iron-cord garotte; Dad might fling his business cards like ninja stars, even, or have an arsenal of poison-tipped Bics. Not that I'm promoting this sort of idea, mind.

Right. Quirks. I guess it's inevitable that your parents will strive to embarass you from the moment you first see light. My parents were just more efficient at it.

The first child, a bouncy bundle of pinkness with eyes that sparkled huge and cartoonish, they named Somebody. Maybe it was a joke: Mom wrung out and red-rimmed sighing something about "she's got to be somebody" and my parents blinking at eachother in simultaneous intrigue. Surely, they had to go through some trials to name their daughter Somebody - mental evaluations, at the very least. But, it did make it easier when my brother, Everybody, was born.

Somebody and Everybody were, in fact, opposites. Born two years apart, the toddlers would squinch pudgy fists in eachother's arms and wheedle attention from Mom and Dad with their melodramatic yelps. Once (I wasn't alive at this point, but I've heard enough versions to tell it), Somebody waddled off with a handful of Everybody's pebble collection. A meticulous display of stones across his dresser, there was the blue-speckled rock like a weighted robin shell for when he lost his first tooth tripping over on a tree root, the fire-hearted quartz for that one time they went to the beach and he came home red as a frustrated lobster, and even the white chalk crystal like a piece of crumpled paper for the day he first learned to whistle. Like I said, Somebody stole the rocks and was found crouched on the front step with a stone pinched in her little fist. A spider, like a wriggling clump of eyelashes, was scaling the water spout; Somebody eyed it and winged the rock. I remember the watery-eyed look Dad would get when he told this story, when he said of Everybody, "By God, he looked like a secret service agent leaping for the assassin's bullet."

Following Somebody and Everybody was poor Anybody. A normal girl, if there ever was one, she had no features of particular remark; not a single freckle that anybody else might have, nor striking anomoly (beautiful or otherwise) to mark her as unique. Her face could, conceivably, be anybody else's face. I've been walking with her when a couple would draw her aside, into some private conversation on what Raina's gone and done now, until Anybody flushed deep scarlet and scrambled away with a mumbled apology.

It was difficult, in the beginning, for my parents to explain their unconventional choices to relatives, friends, and the casually curious aquaintance gaping at us from over the produce display:

"Everybody, get that, would you? Be sure to roll it in your hands, check its - Somebody! Off the cart! Oh, goodness, can't anybody fix these disp... No, Anybody, that's fine. Thank you, dear."

Their own fault, really.

I remember when Everybody told us that he was changing his name. He sat, tight-lipped and his elbows cupped so he looked bound to his chair, while explaining to our parents what he had planned. Never one for a real arguement (he managed to flunk debate for lack of confrontational skills and a tendency to turn green in front of large crowds), he had muttered his case to the tablecloth. When he left for college, the farewell banner read, "Good luck, Everitt!"

Somebody kept her name, saying it "fit" her and would no doubt catch the attention of any number of Hollywood types. She grew to be a strikingly dissimilar woman: curiously harmonious in thigh-high boots and baggy sweatshirts, with a persona some would say filled a room. I remember Mom once saying that she didn't fill the room, the room bent down for a better look.

Anybody, as I said, was never much of "a looker". Any date of hers ended with him whispering a wrong name in her ear or her being forgotten at the fringes of the dance floor, swallowed in a group of people spouting deja vu, as he walked away. As far as I know, she's still living with Mom and Dad in that cookie-cutter house.

But what about me, then? The last in line, whatever could her name be? I'm sure you can guess; it's not particularly hard, really, to assume my name from my siblings' examples.

I am Nobody. That's all there is to say, really.

The End

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