Old 02-04-2013, 12:58 PM   #1
saedo
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Rite of Passage (closed)


Jacob hung up the phone, an odd expression on his face. He certainly hadn't expected that voice on the other end. Not after all these years.

"Who was it, babe?" Tammy inquired. Or, at least that's was his best guess. The leggy brunette was currently face down in one of the poolside lounge chair, so her words were muffled by the towel she was using as a pillow. Her tan back was presently soaking in the bright sunshine pouring through the glass roof.

"Someone from my old life," he murmured, still lost in thought. A life he hadn't thought about in years.

To look at him, Jacob Glenn seemed your standard American entrepreneur. Big house, fast car, pretty women on his arm, tons of cash in his wallet. Just your average rich suburbanite.

What few knew is that his beginnings were far more humble. Jacob had not grown up anywhere near a suburb. He might be a city boy now, but he had spent his childhood on a working dairy. And not just any farm, but one inside a community of Swiss Mennonite.

From an outsider's perspective, the group wasn't much dissimilar from their more famous Amish cousins. A doctrinal dispute had split the two groups centuries ago, but much of the same old world, anti-technology, mildly xenophobic attitudes prevailed with both. They shunned most modern inventions and stuck to the traditional ways.

So might Jacob still be, had it not been for the traditional teenage rite of passage: garunt. Meaning something akin to "walk around", it was an ancient tradition for young men and women on the edge of adulthood. When they reached the age at which teenagers were prone to rebellion, they were permitted to leave their home and venture into the outside world. There they could choose to live as the "others" did, free of the religious restrictions that had governed their livesAfter mon. ths of this experimentation, nearly everyone chose to return. They stepped into adulthood with a commitment to the community and a confidence that the grass wasn't always greener on the other side.

Jacob, however, had been the rare exception. He'd discovered pleasures on the outside that he wasn't willing to give up. So he'd chosen not to return. And in the decade plus since, he had not seen or heard from anyone in the community since. He'd moved away, but had he seen them on the streets every day, they would have pretended he was a stranger. To their minds, they had never known him.

Consequently, the last thing he expected to hear when he picked up the phone was a young woman inquiring if he was the Jacob Glenn formerly of Stonebridge. Apparently this girl was engaging in her own rite of passage. But most unusually, she had sought him out, hoping to learn why he had left his community behind.

"Tammy, I'm going to have company over tomorrow, so I need to get the place cleaned up. You'll need to get going a bit sooner than we'd planned."


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Old 02-05-2013, 07:44 PM   #2
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Today warship was held at our house. Papa opening warship with the first sermon. He spoke of the tests of one's faith, temptation and obedience. Miriam knew to whom her Papa was speaking but never once did he look at her. Tomorrow would start her rumspringa, a time of rebellion, courtship and freedom from the eyes of the church and community. Or at least that was how most of the adolescences saw it. Miriam was still undecided as to how she felt about it.

Miriam's mind drifted and the strong deep voice of her Papa faded away. She wondered about the English world. In all things there were curiosity but it was the unknown and the forbidden that tempted men and women alike the most.

"Miriam." Bishop Wayne's eldest son whispered her name and nudged her hymn book towards her.

Bishop Wayne stood where Papa once was. Miriam blinked slowly and looked around with a bowed head as she picked up her hymns book. Daydreaming she had missed scripture readings, prayers and Bishop Wayne's sermon. Miriam blushed ashamed, noticing the reserved looks her way telling her that Isaac wasn't the only one to notice her lack of attention. Knowing it was best to look away and unable to do so, Miriam ventures a discreet look towards her Papa. There was no anger on his face and that surprised her but the moment she realized what that look was she turned her head towards her book fighting back tears as she mouthed the words.

Shame.

Lunch followed warship and Miriam helped her Moedur set food, plates, cutlery and cups out for lunch. Papa was keeping his space but once Miriam finished Isaac was by her side with a lopsided smile. He was four years Miriam's senior with sandy blond hair, brown eyes and a stout thick body. At 5'2" Isaac stood only a hand taller then her. As the Bishop's eldest son he was a great catch but Miriam was unable to see him in any other light then friend.

"Issac." Miriam smiled politely.

"I did not hear you sing today."

"My mind was else where." She admitted.

"Thinking about your rumspringa?"

Miriam didn't answer just nodded her head. "What was it like for you?"

Issac scratched his chin and lifted his shoulders in a heavy shrug. "Long. The moment I was among the English I wanted to come home. I disliked the noise, the lazy acceptance of their lives. They are unlike us and all the better for it."

Miriam had heard the same from everyone she had asked. It was the same answers in the person's own voice yet Miriam didn't understand it. She had cried after the eighth grade when her parents pulled her out of school. She love learning and yearned for more. Her Papa said it made her proud but he allowed her to purchase books when they went into town. Under the floorboards of her room were more books that she knew her Papa would frown against. She was sure that he knew of them but as long as they were out of sight he seemed to ignore it. Comforted in the knowledge that his only daughter, youngest child of nine, was obedient in all other matters.

It was that reason that Miriam had trouble seeing Issac as more then just friends. He loved to work and had counted the days till he could be at this Father's side in the field. There was no challenge to him. What he said was simple and to the point and he saw no reason to debate things or learn the purpose of things that mattered not to him. His life was his work and if his work needed it he knew of it. Other wide it was wasted time.

"Why do you ask Miriam?"

Miriam had withdrawn back into her mind, thinking about her life when Issac voice snapped her out of it. "Just curious." She smiled hearing her Moedur called for her with a wave of her hand. "Moedur calls, I must go. Thank you Issac." She turned swiftly, her dark blue dress swirling around her legs and she hurried back.

"Baby Catcher Waneta asks for you." Her Moedur nodded towards the oldest woman in the community house. "Hurry now and take her this plate of food." She gave her daughter a light push and sent her on her way.

"Child." Cooed Waneta patting the empty seat next to her. "Talk with me." She asked rocking back and forth in her chair.

"Have you eaten?" Miriam presented the plate of food and placed it on the table that Waneta waved at.

"Tomorrow you will leave the community and walk among the English." Waneta said mater-of-factly. "And unlike others you are the only child venturing out." She mused, the dull thud of her rocking chair beating like a heart beat. "Where will you go?" The smile missed some teeth but was warm and hinted at secrets.

"Moedur says she has a second cousin-" Miriam started when she was cut off by the widening smile and shake of Old Waneta's head.

"Listen to what is not said." Riddled Waneta with a crackled laugh. "Learn without shame and have faith that you will find your way." Waneta pushed herself up and out of the rocking chair and Miriam rushed to help her only to be brushed off. "Open it tomorrow and find some answers to your questions." Waneta fiddled around in her walk cabinet as she spoke, her voice muffled. "Understand me child?" Waneta asked turning with a letter envelope in her hands.

"No." Miriam shook her head as confused as ever.

Old Waneta laughed, her frail elderly body shaking with childish glee. "No matter." She waved off returning to her chair. "Go now. My eyes war with my stomach."

Miriam sighed leaving the house of the old baby catcher. Growing up she used to visit with Waneta every day reading, playing games, sewing. It was where her passion for reading took root but today the old woman had only planted more questions. She looked at the envelope in her hands itching to open it now. Miriam looked over her shoulder at the door and fingered the loose flap. With each flick of her finger the gap grew bigger and bigger until two fingers could be fitted into the gap. "Ah." Miriam sighed shoving the envelop in her pocket. Waneta said to open it tomorrow so tomorrow she could wait.

That night she dreamed of secrets, temptations and a shadowy figure in the far distance.

The next day it wasn't until she was on the bus heading towards the city that Miriam opened the envelope. Inside was a black and white picture of a young version of her Papa and an unknown man. She felt as if she had seen this picture before but couldn't remember where. Miriam looked inside of the envelope searching for more but there was nothing. Turning the photo around Miriam saw the names Abram and Jacob scribbled in the back. Shocked Miriam turned the picture around and stared at the face in the photo. This was her uncle. The infamous brother to her Papa. The one who had not returned and did not exists. Her whole life she had heard mere whispers of his name, the shame he brought and the betrayal. Young and unaware of the matters of things she had asked after her Uncle during dinner to the horror of her parents. 'We do not talk about it' was the answer her Papa gave her putting an end to it. But instead of silencing Miriam's question it just brought up more. She grew smarter about her questions and listened to the whispers. She didn't have a full story or what could even be called an outline. All she did know was during his rumspringa he had picked the life as an English shun. Now she could get her answers. Figure out why her Papa's face always stoned over even at the whispers. She turned the photo over again and read the added name under the two. It was written in fresh ink and read; Jacob Glenn.

At the next stop Miriam got off early and asked for a phone book. There were nine Jacob Glenns in the area and Miriam called after them all starting from the top of the list. Five names down she got the man she was looking for. She told him who she was and the purpose of her call. She wanted to know what made his leave the church, the community and his family. They traded questions for a bit before she got his address. If she left now she could arrive in his town by night fall. The morning if she left later. She decided that getting English clothing wasn't important and told her Uncle that she would be there by night fall.

The way Miriam was built, slim body, slight hips with very large breasts was almost inappropriate and resulted in the tight binding of her breasts. Her wraps were painful and tightly bound her breasts to her chest so it was less noticeable under the shapeless dresses. It was still obvious that her chest was large but next to a breast feeding mother and bound there was barely a difference. But a night when she could untie her breasts it was clear that next to that breast feeding mother she was easily twice if not three times the size.

It was one of the things Miriam was most looking forward to. The chance to be free of the breath stealing wraps and if Waneta hadn't sent her off with the picture she would be in a store that moment picking something with comfort. But as it were, her Uncle was just hours away and Miriam gladly traded holding off her her wrappings to see her shunned Uncle.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:36 PM   #3
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Jacob cajoled Tammy into assisting me with cleaning up the place. It certainly wasn't her first choice. A devotee of the sun, she was reluctant to pass up the opportunity to soak up some rays. Still, she knew well which side her bread was buttered on, so she pitched in.

She became even less pleased when he hustled her out of the house. Having put in the time putting the place in order, she thought she ought to see who all this work was for.

Jacob, however, didn't want the distraction of other people around. "This is a family thing," he told Tammy. "Best that I deal with this alone."

Naturally, this only fueled Tammy's curiosity. Jacob never mentioned his past in any details. Admittedly, their relationship remained fairly casual, but in the time she'd known him, he never spoken of his family or hometown. Yet despite her best efforts, he resisted all her entreaties to learn more about his visitor or to remain behind. She ultimately strode off in a huff, her heels clicking angrily on the pavement as she headed to her car.

Fortunately the guest room required little effort to prepare. It had seen virtually no use since he'd moved in. Jacob's guests tended to be exclusively female and they invariably spent their nights in Jacob's bedroom. Some never even made it that far - their visits were consummated and completed before they even reached the stairs to the second floor. Consequently, the guest room hadn't been used in months.

Jacob wasn't entirely sure what to expect. His brother hadn't even been engaged when Jacob made the decision not to return. No telling whom his brother had ended up marrying. His wife might not even be from their town; their community was spread across a few counties and had strong presences in several rural villages.

It was also odd that she'd chosen to seek him out. In all the years since his departure, no one else had. He was mildly surprised that she even knew he existed. Standard practice would have been to act as if he'd never existed. Till she'd called, he'd had not a single scrap of news aboutany of his family.

As the hours ticked on, he found himself looking towards the door with greater frequency. Despite having sworn off that section of his life, he found a giddy curiosity bubbling up inside him. He was perhaps as curious about this girl as she was about him.

He was beginning to grow concerned as the expected time of arrival passed. He'd offered to come get her or even to pick her up from the bus station. She, however, had refused. Deference to one's elders was a strong tradition, so she was likely uncomfortable at the prospect at putting him out in any respect. Additionally, part of garunt was self-reliance; if you were adult enough to make your own choices, then you were adult enough to look after yourself.

At long last, the doorbell rang. Jacob switched off the TV and went to the front foyer. Curious to see what he would find, he unlocked the deadbolt and swung the door wide.

"Hello," he said warmly to the petite woman looking up at him. "You must be Miriam. Please, come in."
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:00 PM   #4
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Miriam hung up the phone and bought new bus tickets. Where she had going laid north and her new destination, her uncle's laid west. The tickets said that the bus would be leaving in twenty minutes. It was just enough time to check a road atlas and find a motel of some sort near by. There was a Drury Inn down the road and Miriam called for a reservation. Over head a voice called her bus number and loaned on to the bus with her one suitcase.

From the bus station Miriam took a cab to her Uncle's house. "Thank you." She told the cab driver politely as she paid him and got out. He was the only person in her trip that hadn't looked at her strangely. She hadn't expected it to feel so odd by herself. Alone she notice the way the English look at her and they different way they treated her. It wasn't badly but just different. It wasn't until she got into the cab that it dawned on her that it bothered her.

Shaking it off Miriam walked up the steps to the door and rang the doorbell. The man who answered the door looked nothing as she would have imagined. The photo she had of him was older then she was and the young boy in the picture had grown into a man. "Yes and thank you. You must be Oom Jacob, nice to meet you." Miriam smiled walking into the large house. It was rude to stare so Miriam made an effort to look away. She just couldn't get over the fact that she looked nothing like her Papa.

"You have a lovely home." It was flashy, colorful and not at all what she was used to. But there was still a beauty to it. A step into the house Miriam set her suitcase against the wall by the door. "Have you lived here long?"
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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Jacob looked over his new guest. By her face alone, he might have thought her barely into her teenage years. However, the curves beneath her plain dress suggested a woman's figure.

He beckoned her inside. She was clearly cautious - a feeling he remembered from his own tentative steps into the outside world. But had she lacked for courage, she would not likely have come so far from home.

He chuckled slightly at her use of the honorific. "I have not heard the language of the Community in quite some time," he explained. "But such terms are not used in the greater world, so I would suggest you set them aside. If you truly wish to experience life beyond, you must not hold fast to the old customs. You may address me merely as Jacob."

He gestured a hand towards the upstairs. "I have prepared a room for you."

Naturally she refused at first. The Community had never had much in the way of resources, so hospitality and gratitude tended to be highly ritualized. To presume that any offer of generosity was your due was considered highly rude. But after the usual offer, refusal, and insistence, she accepted.

Of course, she refused to let him carry her bag, so Jacob shrugged and led her upstairs. "This is yours," he said as he opened the door. The bedroom was sparsely furnished compared to the rest of the house, but likely was plusher than most she had known.

"Shower and bathroom are just down the hall on the left." Indoor plumbing was one of the most modern attributes of a house in Stonebridge. Still, he hastened to add, "The knob on the left is for hot water, so be careful when you turn it on." Water heaters required natural gas or electricity, so these remained foreign to the Community.

"If you are hungry, I enjoy have food in the kitchen. Of course, perhaps you are tired." Jacob inquired. While barely late evening by modern standards, most likely Miriam lived her life around the sun. Jacob could scarcely remember the last time he'd been up before dawn save when he had not yet gone to bed, but the Community was up in the twilight before sunrise and abed not long after the sun slipped over the horizon. "It's pretty late by your standards and you have had a long journey. If you're ready for bed, I will let you get some sleep."
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