Jon Smith staggered, nearly dropped the shingle. His knees threatened to fold up on him....so he bent them and dropped to a sitting posture in the grass.
Breathing shallowly, he lifted the shingle and stared at the scratches.
Images, sounds, thoughts, spun in a maelstrom in his head. He struggled to compose himself, grab something concrete, sort something he could hold onto out of the raging inferno of feelings.
When they found him, living on the streets of Steel Canyon, eating out of garbage cans, he had only begun to have some sense of himself as a human being, had just begun building a conscious awareness of himself and his surroundings. He'd lost the one thing that is most precious to any human being....his identity. His place in the world, his connection to reality at all.
They were going to list him as "John Doe", but he had protested, and, out of kindness, one of the doctors that had treated him first had listed him as "John Smith" instead.
But when they told him, he had heard "Jon". Jon Smith.
And for some reason he had never understood himself, he had insisted that his name had to be "Jon". Insisted until they had given in, and changed their paperwork for him.
The first human being that Jon remembered who treated him with kindness, with respect, had left behind a note signed "Jon Wilcox". The scrapper had told himself that he had chosen "Jon" over "John" to honor the man who had first seen something in him besides the scavenger, something of the "hero" that others would later discover.
He had told himself that, and he had believed it.
Staring at the crude scratches on the broken shingle, he knew, just as he knew that a farmhouse had once stood here, that "Jon".....was short for "Jonathan".
Copyright terraforming.com, November 26, 2012