Naming Day

Thompson Lee. The name is brewing at the base of my throat and I know it is what I will say in five minutes when I choose my future.
Despite my surety, though, my heart is like a prisoner trying in vain to escape.

It is not only me who is waiting in a plain, white walled room. All other 18 year olds are in the same situation; wondering if the heart on the other end of the name they say will choose them too. Whether they will become Whole or Prime.

Every year, all 18 year olds simultaneously walk into a small room by themselves and say the name that, in that moment, is brought from their subconscious and spoken aloud to be recorded. Two things can happen then: the person whose name you spoke also spoke your name and you become Whole, ready to live your life with them ‘happily ever after’. Or, for the lesser of the population, your call is unanswered and your voice drifts into the void, making you Prime and alone in the world. I think it’s quite romantic.

But, unfortunately, I cannot be as carefree as some whose results from today don’t matter. I want to become a Doctor, and as part of the qualifications, I must be Whole. I understand the mindset behind it, though; if you love and care for someone wholeheartedly and are loved and cared for in return, you will be more compelled to help the hurt not just for them but for everyone around them. Profession is the only discrimination between Wholes and Primes. Other than that, your title doesn’t matter.

I’ve heard a story, though. A Prime who didn’t want to be a Prime. He left his family like all the rest and moved into a Prime town. He was a bit rebellious; talking to the women and implying they take it further. Relationships, other than a matched pair, are strictly forbidden. If the authorities found out about this man they would strip him down to nothing. But he continued.

A rebel. An outsider. Someone who could even be admired. He took it as far as asking the council if he could marry another Prime. “Lock him up,” the council woman had said, sharply. “No chance.” No point in a court case, no interrogation required. It could never be true love. It could never be allowed.

The revulsion on the face of the world as they watched his story on the news. You may or may not have a match but it becomes quite clear on Naming Day which applies to you. And you honour that. You don’t break a heart if it’s broken from the start. We value this. And to go against it…

“The door will open in 30 seconds,” sounds a comforting male voice that comes from all around it seems to only be in my head. “If you could please stand and prepare for your Naming.”

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