It’s already bad that I am Nineteen, ‘cause when I sat in the Auditorium waiting that my number was called, minutes seemed to be hours and I became more and more impatient. It was really nice to see how happy the other Twelves were, getting their jobs, but I even wanted to know which future was expecting me. Well, I waited sitting on my place, Fiona on my left. I guessed she was as excited as I was, although she controlled herself very well.
Our Ceremony began and after the Chief Elder’s speech he called One. There were some Assignments I do not enjoy, but everyone left the stage with a smile in his or her face, and I became surer that the Elders would even know what would be the right one for me.
Asher was really nervous but I think to be the Assistant Director of Recreation is perfectly made for him. When my best friend left the stage he seemed to feel relieved.
The disaster happened later. Again I became more nervous, because Fiona was called to the stage and my sureness was lost. What should I do if the Elders do any mistake? Maybe they were not able to choose an Assignment for me? I did not know WHICH Assignment was waiting for me. And before I reminded this, the Elders shocked me.
Fiona –what a surprise- became Caretaker of the Old. She looked very satisfied when she sat down on her seat, but I was unfortunately excited and strained, waiting to hear my number. Repeating the situation I think it was funny. I pleased for a controlled and normal walk to the stage: That I will not slip or anything like that. In a heart-stopping moment I heart “Twenty”. My first thought was “She skipped me.” and then I was confused about my own number. Or maybe I had heard wrong! But no: Pierre, Twenty, on my right hand moved to the stage and I just wanted to disappear. Far, far away from my family and the other community members who were all surprised and watched me asking themselves if I had done anything wrong, because I knew: The Elders do NOT make mistakes. I was embarrassed and looked forward to the end of the Ceremony. I did not hear what the Chief Elder was telling and who got which job. Although my eyes were open I do not realize what I see, everything was senseless. Again and again I focused on the voice of the Chief Elder while she called number and number, from twenty-one continuing in order. When the last one had his Assignment, the audience applauded and I applauded, too. Politely but just like an automatic. I waited. It was really hard, because I seemed to know what everyone was thinking and they all, especially me, need an explanation. In this moment the Chief Elder started to speak again I raised up my head.
Then the most exciting minutes follow I ever had. The Chief Elder ordered me to stage now and all of my confusedness and fear was shown in my walk. When I stood next to her, she began o explain and everything she said, every word seemed to be a joke. I still do not really got this. Me –the Receiver of Memory? I did not know whether this could be my future. And the Chief Elder told us that the selection to be the Receiver was very, very rare. How could I am the right one? But I have seen the current Receiver: Watching me intently with his pale eyes –eyes like mine- he was sitting in the group of the Committee of Elders.
The Chief Elder continued and what she told was not like a job I wanted. Alone. Apart. And do I have this intelligence, integrity and courage she was talking about? The Assignment of the Receiver includes pain. She explained this pain as nothing I want to feel. Additionally: Wisdom. How could I be wise? I am a Twelve! I do not have enough experience to be wise.
Then the last one…”Capacity to See Beyond”. What is it? An easy question, but J don’t think that anyone could answer it. How they all looked at me I knew they wanted to hear that I have anything. But do I?? I wanted already to say: No, I don’t have this attributes. I can’t be the new Receiver. And then, suddenly, when I watched the audience…they changed. They ALL changed like the apple in the game with Asher. In this moment I knew: I have all this attributes, and I CAN also see beyond. This was what I told the Chief Elder and everyone in the Auditorium. She accepted that, they all accepted that. They thanked me for my childhood –as it was the tradition- and then they began to whisper, call, scream my name. I felt wish less happy, knew they were satisfied with my new role, my new life.
Unfortunately there was this bad feeling. Fear. I don’t even know what my future will be like. There are many options and I will not forget how the Chief Elder was telling me about “pain beyond every experience”. I fear this pain and what I have to become.