series –


What is in a name?

“I’m scared.”

“So am I.”

“And I’m angry.”

“Yeah. So am I.”

“I’m supposed to write this story about us, and I can’t. What is there even to say?”

“Hmmm. Do go on.”

“Most of the other parts of my ‘self’, our ‘self’, I can decouple, but you? THERE’S LITERALLY NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US.
Even as a story, even as fiction, I can’t seem to intellectually make sense of it. You’re not a friend, lover, or family, or some sort of animal-like quality, or an archetype, or a mythical being that I can repurpose for the sake of artistic exploration. You’re me; I’m you, in the most prosaic sense.”

“But you did give me a name?”

“I gave myself a second name.”

“Which, coincidentally, is the second name we already have. Since birth.”

“Yes. That made it easier? To take what was already there, embedded in our history? Our first name is so hideously feminine, a male second name balances it out. Don’t you think?”

“Of course, I think so too. I know who we are.”

“Obviously. Sorry, I’m still struggling with the format here.”

“Heh. But I don’t think our first name is all that bad. If anything, someone wanting knowledge of good and evil – and questioning authority – seems like the right kind of mythological creature to represent us.”

“Maybe. But then Emiel means rivaling, imitating, or trying to be equal to.”

“Very correct. Couldn’t be more on the nose, if you ask me.”

“We’re our own rival?”

“That’s how it seems to work for us most of the time. No?”

“… it’s a bad habit.”

“So, two names now. She and he, together; ‘them’. I like the conceptual approach there. Subtle.”

“Thanks. It sure took us a long time to come up with that. While it was staring us in the face. It’s a bit disappointing, really; it turns out maybe we’re not that sharp after all.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t describe us as sharp. I’d say we’re extremely anxious not to miss anything that is happening, so we try to capture as much raw data as possible, then run it through the vast human analysis machine, and ultimately become resigned to overthinking every minute detail and nuance of it all. A solid approach for a philosopher.”

“That’s a little shy of calling ourselves an educated idiot.”

“Yes…  so we agree the name is very fitting.”

“My gods, it really is. UGH. We’ve just been wasting our time going in circles about this; why couldn’t we have just… I don’t know, gotten to this point sooner? Why didn’t we —”

“Hey, hey. Look at me. It’s fine. At least now we’re here. We know we’re one and the other, both and neither, and none of that matters, and it’s the most important thing. We will live in this contradiction as we always have. It’s cool, I promise.”

“I really don’t want to have to explain this to people over and over and over.”

“Then we don’t.”

“We don’t?”

“Nah, if they can’t figure out something off about us, then why would we bother?”

“But if they ask?”

“Then we tell them.”


“Yeah. Like we just did.”

Image – A part of Studieblad met tekenvoorbeelden: ogen, koppen en dieren. Tekenvoorbeelden (series title) (1608 – 1660) by Michael Snijders. Original from The Rijksmuseum. Used under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication
Font – Bungee font family. Used under SIL Open Font License

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2 responses to “Emiel”

  1. the other OTHER you Avatar
    the other OTHER you

    I don’t know if it’s because I know you better than others or because I have similar feelings but sometimes I wish to run and howl together with you like wolves and afterwards say it’s okay. you are you, even if that’s two and that’s just fine!

    1. Eva Avatar

      *howls at the moon but it sounds suspiciously like a cat mewling*
      You’re the best <3

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