It is time. I can hear Tris’s urgent breathing as she struggles to fight against her anxiety. My own breath hitches in my throat. I can feel my father’s reassuring hand on my shoulder. It is like a weight against me; pulling me down, threatening to break my resolve. So steady and solid, he has always been there for me. Yet here I am, here we are – for I know what Tris is thinking. I have seen it in her bright, button eyes and in the small pucker of her mouth as she stares determinedly in front of her, avoiding eye contact with anyone and everyone. Her we are, about to shatter out parent’s worlds, in public, in front of the community. They all know who our father is, and I know for certain there will be rumours regarding our choices. But we must take our future into our own hands, our destiny needs to be shaped by our actions – whether they are right or wrong – not by everyone else’s expectations.
My name is called, a distant echo in my mind that builds and builds into a shout, jerking me out of my reverie. I feel my father’s grasp tighten, bunching at the fabric on my shirt. My grey shirt. Which I hope to never wear again. It is painful, yet I turn, smile and walk slowly but surely towards the large bowls in the centre. Inside I am shaking. Inside my chest my heart is beating like the wings of a bird. A bird. How ironical. I am like a bird flying from its parent’s nest for the first time. But I won’t stall, or plummet to the ground. I will soar.
The knife is clammy in my hands. Sweat builds up at the back of my neck but I don’t go to wipe it away. I don’t need anyone to see how nervous I am. Tris gazes straight at me, unblinking. Does she know what I am about to do? I hid it well, unlike her.
With a jerk, I split my skin and let it drip into one of the bowls in front of me: unflinching. There is an audible gasp; it hovers in the air above us, an invisible fog of disbelief that is quelled with a glance. Silently, I meet Tris’s wide eyes with unapologetic purpose, avoiding my parent’s disbelief-filled looks. They will be hurt, I know, but I am not the only one to surrender to my desires. Tris is next. So I take my place next to my new family and prepare myself to watch: standing amid the people I will live amongst, work amongst, and spend time amongst forever. Erudite.
- caleb's choice | copyright © hawwa'2014