Nathaniel, the dark-haired and now blue-eyed teenage boy, gazed out the car window with tired eyes. He pondered over the day's happenings and attempted to relate them to his predicament. The darkness had lifted while he was with Dr. Telesfore, but he could tell that it was climbing back into his heart. It never failed to return. Nathaniel sighed.
"So, how was it today, John? ... John? John, I'm talking to you!"
The boy's mother reached over and shook him. He started.
"Sorry mom! I forgot you were talking to me."
"Well, who else in this car has the name 'John'? It's just you and I, sweetie."
The boy turned to his mother, "No one in this car is named 'John.' I'm not 'John' any more."
His mother frowned, "What are you talking about? Your name's been John since the day you were born. You can't change your name."
"Not yet. But I will. I'll change it when I'm old enough."
She laughed, "Oh honey, you're so dramatic. To what? What on earth would you change your name to?"
The boy was silent for a moment before answering, "Nathaniel."
Turning into their neighborhood, she scoffed at him, "Where on earth did you get the idea to change your name to 'Nathaniel'? Is it from some book or show you're into?"
"No," Nathaniel snorted, "Dr. Telesfore calls me Nathaniel."
And so does Mother Mary.
"Why?" She snapped, pulling into the driveway, "What business does he have calling you that? Maybe we should just call this whole thing off. This is not traditional treatment. We should've gone to someone more professional."
"NO!" Nathaniel screamed and grabbed his mother's arm. She had just parked the car, and she looked fiercely into her son's blue eyes. She gasped and was frozen. There was a rise in Nathaniel's stomach, and suddenly he felt fear. Fear and confusion. He felt as though his soul was lifted from his body, and he realized that the emotions he was feeling were not his own. His eyes remained intense and locked with his mother's. The fear and confusion settled and became a bubbling pool of curiosity at the pit of his stomach. Nathaniel still had no idea what was going on.
His mother whispered, "honey," and she brushed his hand off of her. The emotions vanished. The fear, confusion and curiosity dissipated into nothing, and now Nathaniel felt his own confusion and moderate despair fill the void inside him. What the hell just happened?
"Honey, what happened to you today? You're eyes... are you even the same person? Where is my son?"
Nathaniel breathed deeply and exhaled, "I'm still me, mom. My eyes and name are changed. That's all."
She frowned, "But why? Why would that Doctor change you? How?"
"He didn't change me. He's showing me who I really am."
Nathaniel looked at his mother's arm which he had been touching only moments ago.
"Mom, take my hand."
She offered her pale hand slowly, and he received it with his warm palms. Once again, he looked into his mother's eyes and felt the same lilt in his stomach as before. The confusion and fear returned to him, though less potent than before. The curiosity was stronger, and it begged for a satisfying answer. There were also images in Nathaniel's mind, of himself. He was growing up, tall and thin, still with dark hair and blue eyes.
"Mom, what are you thinking about right now?"
She sighed, "You. I'm thinking about you when you're all grown up. I want you to be just as handsome as you are now."
"Maybe taller and thinner?"
She smiled, "Exactly what I was thinking. Why don't we go inside? It's getting chilly out here."
Nathaniel nodded, and his mother's hands slipped from his. Instantly, the images vanished and the emotions disappeared yet again. He breathed and shook his head. It's impossible. What on earth is this?
"Come on, John! Oh, I'm sorry dear, I just can't get used to calling you 'Nathaniel' so quickly."
He slipped out of the black SUV and pondered as the despair began creeping back into his soul.