Gather round, gather round for today I have a story. I warn you though, it is not a tale of demons and blights, gems and plights, or heroes and tights. This is the simple story of the man with no name.
How can a man have no name? Believe me when I say you are not the first to ask; I too had the same question. As an orphan at two and an adoptee at six he had no memory of his parents and more importantly none of his own name, the brand of identity so many others took for granted. The crest of distinction they all wore so proudly.
Many friends and inclined bystanders who heard his burden would try to ascribe a label to him, but whether it was Clarth, Lucifer, Martin, Anthony, Timothy or Frederick it was always the same story:
"That's not my name," he would reply, "it is not who I am."
One day all that would change. Pushed to the brink by melancholy the twenty year old man stumbled through the streets in disarray, lost in a sea of individuals swiftly moving from A to B. Their loud expressions overwhelmed his thoughts and drowned his fragile sense of self. In hope of fate he leapt and blindly grabbed someone: an old woman of more than sixty.
"Please, ignore the apparent insanity of my actions, but do you know who I am? I beg of you! I must know my name."
Clearly tossed into confusion she stared at him with a raised brow and opened her mouth to speak. A moment before she could express her distress a hint of recognition crossed her aged face.
"Oh my," she said raising a finger to his neck, "this marking, I know this marking."
Her finger caressed his odd flower shaped birthmark.
"It has been so long but I remember this. I was once a nanny to a boy who had this mark upon his neck."
"Please madam, I need only a name."
"Oh child, I am an old lady who has seen much, heard more, and met a great many. I can't even begin to recall."
These words almost brought tears to his eyes. To come this close and fail was blasphemous to every belief he had of fate.
"But," she spoke with a wave of hope, "I do recall the nanny service was not too far from here and surely they kept records. Its name escapes me now, but it was near that bar everyone raves about: The Sweetest Rose."
The man jumped for joy, and with a million thanks kissed her hand and
hastily began his search. Three hours later though he had nothing to
show for his time. No sign, map, or other indicator pointed to his goal.
He felt alone, abandoned, and with no other leads he entered The
Inside he perused the red walls and massing crowd who gathered near the central stage. They were all eager for something, but for what he had no clue. When no employee or patron seemed to know of any babysitting businesses he asked for the manager and was directed backstage.
The manager, a tall important looking man, stared intently at a clipboard and didn't seem to hear the man or his questions. He was troubled, and the man with no name had no idea what could possibly be more important than his quest.
"Sir!" he finally yelled, trying to steal his attention.
"You!" The manager said as if noticing the interloper's presence for the first time, "can you by chance play piano?"
"Yes, yes, piano. Our pianist has not arrived and the people are expecting a show. I don't care if you're the worst piano player in the world at least it will entertain. I need someone to alleviate these guests of their impatience immediately. If you do so, I shall be forever grateful. Any wish you have I shall grant."
Such a guarantee was all he needed. He told the manager he had taught himself a bit of piano in his spare time but probably wasn't very good. The manager ignored the warning and rushed him onto the stage where forty men and women stared at both him and the instrument of expression to his right.
"Play," they urged, "we want to hear you."
The man sat at the piano and pushed off his nervousness in light of the potential reward. Cracking the fingers on both hands he placed them on the keys and began to play. Without a tune in mind he simply created the melody as he went. For the next five minutes the audience was in complete silence, mesmerized by the harmony flowing from the stage. The man played off the final notes and fearing the worst he stared awkwardly at his hands. A few silent seconds passed, then entire group leapt to their feet and smacked their hands with great appreciation. In that moment the man felt something, something he would unfortunately not understand until far later. He shook his head and scurried backstage, dismissing the alien sensation.
"That was amazing," the manager exclaimed, "you undersold yourself."
He cared little for the compliment, and instead demanded to know if the manager knew of any childcare services nearby. After a few moments of thought, he recalled a place not far which, by chance, was closing this very day and most likely on the verge of destroying all their old records.
Now possessing the final piece of the puzzle the nameless man rushed to
leave the bar. He was almost at the door when a suited woman blocked his
way. He cursed.
"Please, hear me out." she said
He eyed the door, but out of courtesy he listened.
"You are the most amazing pianist I have ever heard in all my time scouting talent. That music had just the heart and soul that I am looking for. I did not know it until now but all this time I have been looking for you. I have a plane to catch but if you come right now I can make things happen. I can present you with endless opportunities to show the world what you have showed these people today."
"How!?! How can you give this up? This may be the most important offer you ever get."
"Not as important as finding out who I am."
With that, he rushed past her and out the door. His final destination was only five minutes away, and the only things inside were countless boxes and an old woman packing them away.
"Please ma'am, do you still have your records? I know this must sound absurd but I simply must know something. It is everything to me."
Puzzled but willing, she flipped through the papers. The man gave her the name of the elderly lady and any other scraps of detail he'd dug up. She smiled and told him that only a single record matching all the facts.
"The name, please I need the name."
"Hrm…" she said, using her finger to trace along the page. This was it, he was finally to know who he was. He would finally have what everyone else took for granted. Two words that would distinguish him from all others, and that he could use to finally answer the question so many had posed to him. The one that burned him everytime he couldn't answer. The curse that had been upon him since he first appeared in that orphanage, and had clung to him to this very day. Finally he would know what it was like to answer,
"Who am I?"
She looked at him, and the moments it took for words to reach his ears felt like centuries.