Ibex

United States

Christian
as in Presbyterian Church in America
Female
Writer
Novelist
Poet!
Reader
Ambivert or something
Band nerd + Drum Major
Planet Earth nerd
etc, etc
Joined September 10, 2019

Message to Readers

This is a a segment from the first chapter of a novel I've been working on lately. Let me know what you all think, and PLEASE review!

Call Me Nomad (a teaser for a recent novel)

April 9, 2020

FREE WRITING

1
    The sun is just starting to rise, alighting the clouds with pastel shades of pink and purple, when my mother takes me by the hand and pulls me into her bedroom. Clasping my hands to her chest, her honey eyes watering, she smiles at me, “You ready?”
    I nod. She turns and unlocks the wooden cabinet behind her, not releasing my hands. The door swings open slowly, revealing my mother’s orange gown, which she wore on this very day not twenty years ago.
    “Here,” she says, taking the dress off its hanger and holding it out to me, “Try it.” I can only stare at myself in the mirror as she helps me into it. The skirt, which fades into a pretty pink, falls to my ankles, and the illusion neckline sparkles with gemstones. Never have I worn something so beautiful, or so valuable.
    As my mother ties the silk sash around my waist, I hear her crying softly. The door creaks open, and her two sisters, my Aunts Rose and Poppy, enter the room, each carrying an armful of supplies for making me beautiful: makeup, clips for my hair, rings for my fingers, and other jewelry. They each ooo and ahh at my mother’s dress on my frame; suddenly I look more like a woman and less like a girl.
    “You know,” my Aunt Rose’s eyes are wide with delight as she looks me up and down, “I thought for sure you would go to Seamstress Oak and have a new dress made, but you certainly made the right decision in choosing to wear your mother’s gown.”
    “Yes, you look absolutely gorgeous, my dear!” Aunt Poppy agrees with a vehement shake of her head. Turning to my mother, she adds, “All she needs is a little powder on her face, and maybe some glitter on her eyelids, to bring out the color in her cheeks, because, you know, she is dreadfully pale, but I can fix that in a jiffy.”
    Mother grins, “Enough already! You’ll give the poor girl a headache. Whatever you do, make it fast. It won’t be long before the Timekeeper rings the morning bell.”
    My mother and her sisters bustle around the room, brushing powder on my face, throwing my hair into braids, tossing me this way and that, spinning me around, and then finally turning me back to face the mirror. “What do you think?” my mother asks.
    I look like a sunrise. My hair, which is blonde, is piled atop my head in a lacey, braided style that looks both delicate and powerful. The glitter on my face matches the gemstones on my dress, and they’ve slid my feet into sandals that glimmer in the sunlight. They’ve applied a quick-drying, glitter polish to all of my nails. My whole body sparkles like the morning dew.
    Aware that they are awaiting my answer, I whisper in awe, “I love it.” Just as I utter my judgement, the morning bell tolls five times. Aunts Poppy and Rose start to tear up a little and embrace; my mother smiles, “Let’s go show your father.”
    My father and brother have been long banished to the sitting room, since it’s tradition that only a girl’s mother and aunts can see her before the morning bell on her day of Readiness. Father sits reading and drinking his coffee, and my brother, Pine, stuffs his face with muffins and cheese. Both turn to look at me as I exit the bedroom, arm in arm with Mother, my aunts following behind.
    Father wipes his eyes and searches for words, “You ladies have… done an amazing job.” He stands and wraps his arms around my mother, both watching me with expressions I can’t quite understand or explain. He shakes his head, and tears roll down his cheeks and into my mother’s hair, “You’re not a girl anymore, Cedar. Somehow I didn’t realize it until now, but…” His words die in his mouth as another wave of emotion chokes his lungs and sends tear brimming in his eyes.
    The morning bell sounds a second time, signaling that the procession is about to begin. Father hooks his arm around my left as mother slips her arm underneath my right, “You ready?”
    I take one last look at our little sitting room, knowing it will be different when I return, breathe deeply, and nod, “I’m ready.”
    With that, we step outside and join the flow of people heading to the Common House. Surrounding us are my fellow sixteen-year-olds, each accompanied by their parents and arrayed in clothes even more eccentric than mine. There are young men in grey suits and girls in robes of every color, all decorated with gemstones, hair neatly done. We’ll stay in this assemblage of beautiful garments for no more than an hour, but this is the single most important day of our lives. This is the day when we begin our coming-of-age.
    The Common House appears at the end of the road, and the crowd, which grows with every passing home, suddenly takes on an air of excitement and anticipation. Everyone is ready, especially those of us for who this day was created, and it seems that we collectively walk a little faster, the constant chatter of the village people growing louder with each step. Nine Judges, one for each sixteen-year-old, stand at the House doors, waiting for the crowd to finish its journey up the hill. I feel strangely light, as if Mother and Father are carrying me on their shoulders, and, even though I walk, my feet never touch the ground.
    The Judges open the doors for us, and we pass into the Hall, which seems so much larger than before, probably because I am ascending the stage for the first time and taking my marked seat at the end of the row between my parents, since I am the youngest of the nine sixteen-year-olds. We survey the House like the kings and queens we are; today we are royalty, sitting on our wooden thrones, exalted above our fellow villagers, hailed as the future.

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  • April 9, 2020 - 3:48pm (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • Anne Blackwood

    Omigosh this is so cool and sounds like something I would totally read all of


    11 months ago