(c) Mackenzie T. David, 2016
Hello. I am David. Perhaps that’s too forward—I am not a man named “David.” No, it’s a little less concrete than that. As a surname, I was passed down for many generations. My origin has been debated. Am I Hebrew? Celtic? Maybe French? I haven’t ever stopped to mind, really. I always found my meaning more interesting than where I came from.
Beloved. Many associate that translation with me. Or they think of the man after God’s own heart. Or David means “a friend.” Often used for males as a first name. But girls have me too—often as the surname, which is where I have originated, in this case. You see, for this family I have been a huge part of their identity. They are proud to belong to me.
To give some specific background, Matthew Jeremiah David was the way Mara met me. Mara was reluctant to give up her surname, or “Taylor,” since it was the only connection (besides her family home) she had to her folks. However, that changed when she met Matthew. It’s funny how perspective evolves when circumstances change. Once married, Mara became a David, and I was happy to belong to her and her to me.
Next was Emily. Emily and I have a unique relationship. There was a time when I felt abandoned by her. As a child she wrote me down in sloppy letters on homework and drawings. Matthew and Mara were proud to pass on the name to her. She was happy to know me. But like her mother she changed her mind when she met the love of her life.
I don’t mean to be bitter. It’s just she really deserved better. But I’m getting ahead of myself—they married and she left me. I didn’t care enough to discover what her name changed to when she married him. I understood that Emily was female, and for some stupid reason women feel less attached to me, but still. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was hurt by her betrayal. Anyhow, she did come back to me. When she had a child and then her marriage fell apart, she came back to me crying for my comfort. I took her back without a second glance at her tear stained face. That’s also how I met her son, Jerry.
Jerry David. I know the boy had trouble with accepting me. I don’t blame him. I never belonged to his father—that man who he longed so much for in his life. I was new and had not been present for the first five years of the boy’s existence. I was his grandfather’s name—not his. I hoped that his views on the matter may change, though.
The boy grew. I appeared throughout his life, marking memory after memory. Some good—others horrid. I was present on that spelling test, etched in dull pencil. I rested on his back when he played soccer and little league. I was carved in his grandfather’s gravestone that he visited every other Sunday with Mara and Emily. When Jerry was fifteen, I watched from hospital papers in horror as the words around me bullied me into believing he was gone, though he wasn’t. After that, I was inked in hurried writing from the love of his life.
The last time I was his was when I was printed onto that marriage contract with “Harper.” That’s the name he took in my place. Unlike with Emily, this didn’t feel like a betrayal somehow. I was still his. I will always be his. And today he has proven that. I rest between two other names, honored to be here.
Matthan David Harper.
The first name is a mix of their two grandfather’s first names (Matthew and Nathan). The last name belongs originally to Lucas, and now to Jerry. But the baby’s middle name … me. I’m honored to be here.
Jerry’s son sleeps in his arms while his husband, Lucas, stands nearby holding onto the birth certificate I’ve made my new home on. Jerry smiles weakly as Lucas sets me beside them on the table. Pausing for a moment, Jerry reads me and nods. Then he hands the child to Lucas and takes up a pen. He signs his full name beside me, then he turns back to his family. The family I am a part of.
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Mackenzie T. David is a writer originally from Seattle, Washington. Currently living in San Diego, she aspires to write works that bring people joy, and to empower them.
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