The moment had finally come, he was excited and proud yet the thought of standing at this precipice was still terrifying. Enduring so many ordeals to test his faith, he passed every test set before him. And still, he couldn’t help wonder if he had made the right choice. He didn’t care about the tiny details until now, and now they didn’t seem so tiny as they loomed closer from the distance.
It was his Confirmation; his entry, his complete and total indoctrination into his new faith; his new life. Standing at the back of the church, watching the sun fade from the window stained red and blue, he ignored the disrepair the structure had fallen into. The condition was not what made the building so mysterious or rapturous to him; it was only the change that awaited him at the hands of the priest that weighed on him. He tried, failing miserably, to control a sudden trembling that moved up from his hands and across his chest before claiming his tall frame in a shudder. There was no chance to change his mind now; this was the beginning.
His friends gathered, filing into the pews in singular ceremony. He looked down, gathering focus, taking his eyes off the scene that was about to engulf him. In doing this, he noticed for the first time how worn the finish on the floor was; the wood was nearly bare.
Yes, that’s it. That’s what he’ll do. He looked up and realized the ornate caps to the pews were just as worn out from their use. Focus on meaningless things and this anxiety will pass.
The hairs on the back of his neck bristled. A presence was very close to him. She was there, reaching from behind him, touching his waist and giving him a chill but he stayed still, allowing her to continue. She gathered the fabric in her fists and pulled it out of his black jeans, working it into a ball. As she balled the thin cotton of his t-shirt, she gently slipped her hands up the length of his torso. He raised his arms when he felt her fingers cross his sternum and allowed her to take his shirt from him.
His lovely raven-haired friend folded her arms around him, and feeling the furious pounding in his chest, she knew the fear and trepidation in his heart. She too, would soon be worthy of her own Confirmation, a day she likewise dreamt of and dreaded. She stroked his chocolate brown hair hanging thickly below his shoulder blades, smoothing it back into place after her undressing had tousled it. She pressed her lips to his shoulder making a long shushing sound before kissing his skin, trying to offer his heart some calm. He felt her and was grateful for the comfort, but still too nervous to dare turn around and take his eyes off the altar with the waiting priest.
“It’s time. You’ll do well, I know you will.” Her voice crackled and he heard her choked tears. He couldn’t tell if they were tears of pride or fear. He couldn’t dwell on that now; the priest looked up from the altar now and was piercing him with hollow eyes.
“Friends, we’re here for a very special occasion; one that is rare and should be given great consideration. Today, we are welcoming a devout student into the faith; today Dorian becomes a part of our lives for all eternity. His body is forsaken and his soul is enlightened. No longer will he have need for the trappings of common man, for today he transcends through sacrifice and becomes immortally blessed.” The priest bellowed with well-practiced projection, like a prophet on a mountain, his voice rang through every eave of the church.
He gave a quick nod, cueing Dorian to obey him and come forward to the altar. Dorian hesitated for only a moment as if compelled beyond his body’s control, and moved slowly up the rows. His friends turned and gazed lovingly up at him as he passed by and stepped up onto the altar’s platform. Without a second thought, fell to his knees at the priest’s feet and bowed his head, whispering, “Father”.
“Rise and bear witness to Dorian’s Confirmation.” The priest motioned for the congregation to stand with palms up. Two young men, recently confirmed, flanked each side of Dorian awaiting orders. Dorian had seen this ceremony many times before and knew what these assistants were for, he knew they were far stronger than he was and were chosen for just that reason. He also knew they would ensure his completion of the sacrament no matter what happened.
“Dorian, do you swear to relinquish all ties to your previous life, surrender all tenants of previous spiritual devotions and align yourself completely with our congregation and our way of life?”
“Yes, Father, I swear.”
“Dorian, do you vow to honor the elders and aspire, through acceptance of their teachings, to gain the wisdom and enrichment they offer?”
“Yes, Father, I swear.” Dorian’s voice scratched harshly, making him wince as a tear swelled in his eye.
“And you, the witnesses Dorian chose, swear to guide him and protect him, correct him through punishment should he falter along the path to his immortal life, to praise him when his merits are deserving, and to comfort him when needed?”
“Yes, Father, we swear”, said the combined voices, coming from over Dorian’s naked shoulder.
“Then it is time to welcome Dorian with all of our hearts.” The priest took Dorian’s lowered head in his hand, gripping him at the nape of his neck and pulling it back gently, signaling Dorian to meet the eyes of the priest.
“Turn and face those who have agreed to love you and support you for all eternity.” As the priest finished the words, Dorian silently rose and moved to the altar’s step before kneeling before his friends.
Directly behind Dorian, the priest now gently swept the long chocolate hair to one side, cupped Dorian’s chin in his hand; tilting his head sharply to one side. Dorian’s breathing was erratic and shallow; he could no longer conceal the apprehension on his face. He was starting to grasp the gravity of his decision but it was too late now and that fact paralyzed him; leaving him staring blankly ahead, expressionless until the pain burned him.
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