Not his real name

baby-namesSo why would I launch a blog to search for my son and then give him a false name? It’s a fair question, though the answer is as layered  as the rest of this mess.

Ostensibly, I want to respect his privacy and I want to protect my identity. Also, by giving him another name, I think it almost gives me a sense that it’s someone else’s son and not my own beloved boy. It also helps me think of this as narrative and I take a small comfort in that–that this is a story I am living. It will have a beginning, a middle, an end perhaps. And so, too, it might be a story that will help other families in my situation.

It’s also probably indication that I’m not desperate enough to launch my own full-out Missing Person campaign. I still believe he’ll call me on his own and we’ll reestablish regular connection. Maybe he’ll even come back East for a while and let me fatten him up and give him a real bed. Barring that, I am counting on my mother’s navigational system to help me locate him when I do my own street search next month.

Mainly, I’m afraid of offending him. I’m taking a big risk by writing about this. It could become a wedge between us, propelling him further from my reach. That is, of course, predicated on him actually reading it. But Sean no longer has the cracked iPod Touch I gave him, so searching the Web is unlikely. He can’t even access those public library computers since his ID card was stolen–along with all of his belongings–several months ago.

When I filed my first Missing Person’s Report with the Berkeley Police in July, the officer who located him told me this detail: “Your son was very polite. He looked like he was taking care of himself. But he did do one very strange thing: He kept insisting that he had a different last name.” When I asked the officer the name he had given, it was his correct last name. My son bears my last name as his middle name and the officer had transposed them in her report.

So, you lose things on the street. Without an ID, my son has no name. But he hasn’t yet figured out that he can use that to his advantage and become someone else–or become no one. When I plaster the Berkeley streets with my Missing posters next month … will he step up to his name and call me?