The Naming of Angela Lan

(This is thanks to Angela Lan for leaving her name in the comments section!)

You sit in bed, wide awake, watching your sister sleep beside you. It’s no use; you forced yourself to shut your eyes, but you’re just not tired. You’re never tired at this hour. Careful as to not wake her, you slip out of bed and into the kitchen, light a small candle, and grab a hunk of bread in the cupboard.

Tomorrow. The day can’t get here fast enough. You chew, swallow, and swig down some milk. Then repeat. Until your stomach’s full and your eyelids finally feel heavy. You’ve waited what’s felt like decades to turn thirteen. And now, it’s finally come. A twinge of nerves shoots through your body. Will it be everything you’ve hoped for? The longer the question lingers in your mind, the stronger the nerves get. So you make your way back into bed, blow out the candle, and finally fall asleep, listening to the rhythm of your sister’s breathing.

“Angela!”

“Mmmmm.”

“She’s almost here! You have to get up. Now,” says your sister, who yanks off your blanket, immediately blasting you with the coldness of the morning.

“Gimmetheblanket,” you mumble, reaching for it with your eyes still closed. Mornings.

Twenty minutes later, you’ve pulled yourself out of bed, managed to brush your hair and slipped on the dress your mom made for you weeks ago. It’s beautiful. Midnight blue with a silver ribbon tied around the middle. You twirl in the mirror for a few seconds, taking care to notice how grown up you look. How grown up you feel. In a few minutes, everything will change. You’ll finally be seen as an adult.

By your parents. By everyone.

You make your way into the living room, which is packed with family and friends. Familiar faces light up as you walk past them; they’ve come from all over–school, church, the neighborhood. Their smiles fill you with confidence as you suddenly see the Reader.

Hunched, wrinkled, and gaunt, she circles you at first, eyes avoiding your glances. Until, they lock with yours. She reaches into a small pouch around her waist, producing a quill and piece of parchment and for a few breathless seconds, lets the quill swim across the paper. Ink forms letters you can’t yet see. You almost don’t need to see. Confidence of who you are seeps through you.

Finally, she holds out the parchment. No one yet, not even the Reader knows what your Naming has revealed. Until you grasp the paper in your hands. You breathe deep; square your shoulders; and smile at your audience.

Then speak.

“Angela Lan. Trust-worthy.”

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