He had a strange name. The word ‘strange’ means ‘unusual or surprising; difficult to understand or explain’ (sic). The word (his name) itself meant nothing, he had told me.
His father had written a story about a man by that name. The story happened as a consequence of his trying to understand what ‘evil’ truly meant. The dictionaries said something like ‘profoundly immoral and wicked’ (sic), but his father thought that there was more to it than that. The definitions of ‘evil’ and its surrogate opposites were fabrications, he believed – abstractions of a greater, singular whole.
Anyway, it was the only story he ever wrote and he never gave it to anybody. What he did give was the name of its protagonist to his son, saying its character needed to be redeemed.
I told him that was some legacy to live up to.
“My mother raised my anyway… and I’m no piece of fiction !” , he had replied.
And so his name was Chagal and he was my only visitor at the Old Hospital as I lay there with the Disease.