by any other name

I find that nobody can remember my name. This has been going on for some years now, but in the past few months the problem seems to be getting worse--which is how I first noticed it. For a while I assumed it was some quirk of my friends, that they couldn't pick a name for me. Then I moved, and the problem moved with me. Perhaps my names don't fit me, I thought. I find that when I think of my names, nothing comes to mind--they're blank places in my thought, and maybe they're just not very interesting names. Who knows?

But then people who'd known me for years started forgetting my name, and though they acted like they'd known me for a while, they stopped acting like they knew anything about me. I was this person they knew, but they couldn't tell you how they knew me, or anything about me. I was a person-shaped void in their lives. I started making it a point to say my name as often as possible, and I adopted quirks and affectations that would make me more memorable. This seemed to work for a while, but if I let them out of my sight I'd have to remind them who I was again with my quirks.

And then they weren't even remembering me, just my stupid affectations. But it was close enough to living that I managed for a while. It wasn't until my girlfriend started giving me that glassy stare when she saw me, that 'how do I know you again?' look, that I started to lose control. "It's me," I'd tell her, and I could tell she knew we were dating, but the details had become just a blur.

I had to break up with her, of course. I couldn't stand it, and thanks to her I couldn't stand any of it now. It wasn't just that people couldn't remember anything about me, I decided--it was that there was nothing about me to remember.

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