THE INITIATION

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"...sit on this stump blindfolded till morning."

Hi! This is my take on a popular story. Think of it as Laolu’s version.

I feel like I have literal butterflies in my belly. I can almost feel the brush of their cotton-soft wings as they flutter around.
“Today, you become a man.” Says Dad. He has this little smile on his face. He beckons and together, we leave the house. He gets in the car and I follow suit. Without saying a word, he starts the car and we’re off.
Looking out the window, I watch in silence as the city recedes, we’re in the outskirts. Soon it disappears totally from sight, to be replaced by shrubbery. Shrubbery gives way to tall, strong trees which come together to form a forest.

The car slows and then comes to a complete stop. There is a quiet hiss as the engine dies. We sit in the car for a while. Then dad opens his door and comes down. I get down too.

Its 6:30pm and the forest is just waking. The dry musky scent of dead leaves and rotten wood assail my nostrils. As I follow dad I listen to the sounds of little bits of wildlife and the occasional crack of a twig breaking under my boots. Its almost dark so I have to squint a little to see. But its easy to follow Dad, as the bright orange jacket easily reflects light. Soon we come to a clearing at the center of which sits a tree stump.
Dad turns finally to tell me the rules of the initiation.

“Son. What you have to do is very simple. Sit on this stump blindfolded till morning.”
I sit and he ties a blindfold  around my eyes. I hear the sound of something dropped beside me. “Here is an alarm clock. When it is 6:00am on the dot it will ring, and then you can remove the blindfold.
If you make it till the alarm rings you’ve passed the test. If you don’t you have failed.”

I can hear footsteps. And then silence. I’m left with the smells and sounds of the forest. No sight. And what I feel is limited to the little area around the stump.
Time passes. I’m scared. But I am to become a man at the end of this test. There’s only one thing to do. I seek solace in the sweet arms of sleep.
Putting my head in my arms, I’m able to get a little relief. Its not comfortable. And it’s certainly not a feather bed. But it would do…

Soon the shrill sounds of an alarm clock wake me up. I sit up. I’ve made it. My arms feel like wood but I’m able to get them behind my head. After an awkward fumble, another awkward fumble, I eventually gain enough control and remove the blindfold. I can see the dim outline of a man sitting and watching me. He has a gun in one hand and a machete in the other. He also has on a bright orange jacket.
“Well done son. Well done.” Other voices pick up the compliment and the forest comes alive with people.

Its when I get home I finally understand. They were watching over me the whole time.

I was never alone.

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