I was an annoying child, and one of my annoying traits was that I called everyone by the name Heppelwhite. I think I’d read the name in a storybook, although I can’t claim with honesty to remember what the book looked like, or what story it contained, or if it even existed. My father, my mother, my brother, my playmates: all of them Heppelwhite.
As I grew I told myself I would meet an actual Heppelwhite, and when my achievements in business outraced my ambitions, my hope to shake the hand of an actual Heppelwhite became my primary fantasy. I grew middle-aged, and then simply aged, and even then had not met my man, or my woman. In the hospital, after the racking heart attack that was sure to finish me, I maintained a certainty that the universe which had treated me so well until now would reward me in the end, send me my doctor with just the right name, but when the man came in he told me his name was DeCew. “God damn you,” I said.