Bvajot

Bvajot came to see me, and I did not know who he was. The name held recognitions but one I couldn’t put my finger on. I woke from sleep and there it was, like the last reverberation of a name said. But said by whom? An unclear message, clearly sent to me. And so, since there was no apparent agent, I had to assume the name came from far in back of the stage. Not from Shakespeare, and not from Iago. From farther back and from another author.

It is like a call that says, “There is you and me now, and my name is Bvajot, although I have others. Like ‘Not Yet, I’m not Ready’ and ‘So Soon?’ and ‘Choose Another, Someone Who is not Good, Who Tortures and Slices and Gouges and Burns Others Alive.’ “

But then you are gone again, and I barely get your name down. Bvajot. A Slavic-sounding name. Some place I hope not to have to go.

Questions come up, Bvajot. How did you get my number? By lottery? Spin the bottle? The first home your three-legged pig entered when the moon was full and the wind began to blow? And then you said it once. “Bvajot.” Was it to see if I heard it? And if I didn’t awake, what then? Would you have taken me? Taken me all the way? Or just marched me to the canal and thrown me into the icy water so that when I crawled out I began to shiver with my teeth arattle and fever trying to enter my ears like leeches the color of liver?

Will you come each night now and say the name? Bvajot, Bvajot, Bvakot! To see whether I hear it?

Or, feeling more confident, I ask, Is it the name of your dog, not you, who strayed over into the world of the living, but then turned away at my door, spooked by some other power? Perhaps by your own cold authority, the voice that makes wolves cringe and birds fall from the sky?

Did you begin thinking of me much earlier? When I was six and sat alone in a hospital, cross-legged on the iron bed, scrubbing abandonment out of my heart—an attack of tonsils, was that how you first found me and added me to your list?

Please don’t call again, this is a wrong number, there is no one here by that name, please remove me from your list, you do not have my permission to communicate with me. I have other plans, I will not be listening. Please accept my condolences. I will be hanging garlic and formaldehyde everywhere. I will be sleeping with squishy blue earplugs and a pillow over the upper flap. When I do not hear you, it does not count as readiness to join you in your house. And whose name is it anyway? Since it refers back to where it comes from, you are not calling me, and it is therefore your name. The call is self-referential, hence has nothing to do with me. It does not interest me anyway. The previous sentences—all the rambling—represent a lapse. That is all. Enjoy your name, call it out often. But I will not be listening. Since it has nothing to do with me. We are through, Bvajot. Good-bye forever!

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