Desert Rose

"Imagine a place where the desert and ocean collide. That's where I live."

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3. Feast

 

I’m sitting in my window sill, overlooking the beautiful landscape. On one side, I see the light sand, baking in the sun, and the dunes in the horizon. On the other, I see the crystal blue water undulating slowly, rocking in peaceful rhythm. The water is not salty, and it is our only source of water in Amandier. The water laps onto the sand, creating a sure contrast between beige and blue. I love the scenery, it takes my breath away. A stream of light hit’s my face and I close my eyes. I almost fall asleep. Almost.

Because then I am disturbed by the call of my name. I’m being summoned for the ceremony. I am wearing the long red dress, earrings with water from the ocean, and sand from the desert inside them. I always wear them on this day. My hair is at its full length, down to my ribs, and the tips have been curled. On my head rests a simple gold crown, small, but elegant. Adriana wears her blue dress, her hair is up, and her crown is different than mine, but just as stunning.

I’m standing before the massive mahogany doors that lead to the Hall of Heritage. My sister stands beside me, and I clasp her hand tightly. Inside the whole population is waiting for us. I can hear the murmurs of excitement, the anticipation building up inside. I always get nervous, though I now nothing will happen. They love us, and we love them.

“Ready?” whispers Adriana, looking into my eyes.

“Sort of.” She smiles. She never get’s nervous, which I don’t understand. Maybe she just wants to be a good example to me – since she’s two years older.

Then the doors are opened, by two of our servants, and light floods upon Adriana and me. The roar of the crowd deafens me. They’re all standing now, waiting for this annual event to begin. Our national anthem plays out as we take the first step, into the Hall.

Adriana and I are the first ones to enter. Roses are thrown at us as we walk, hand in hand, toward the end of the aisle. When we have taken our places, standing beside our father’s throne, he enters.

He’s wearing a long red and gold robe, his crown, and in his hand is a golden cup, used only for this occasion. He’s riding on our elephant, Basil, just like every year. Two servants help him down, and as the anthem ends, he is sitting on his majestic throne.

Everyone hushes to silence, as he rises.

“People of Amandier. I thank you for coming today, to celebrate my 60th birthday. It has been a pleasure ruling this country since my own father, Logan Jecatou's death, twenty years ago.

 Amandier rose out of the ruins of what once was Africa, over two thousand years ago. The desert stretches as far as the eye can see, and the same with the ocean. I cannot believe my luck, when it comes to it. I was scared when I was crowned King, but then I asked myself. Of what? Sure I made mistakes, but you were there for me. You corrected me, when I couldn’t see the faults myself. You helped me, when we went through a rough patch. And you loved me, throughout it all.” His voice booms. Every soul present cannot help but cling to every word, even though they’ve heard it before. This yearly ceremony touches everyone. Deep down. It represents the bonds we have with each other in this kingdom.

When his last words spread across the Hall, everyone says it with him. “You are my people, you are my country, and you are my life.”

The anthem begins and we all put a hand over our hearts and sing the following;

Amandier, Amandier

You’ve been there for me

Through thick and through thin

It is all that I see

Let my love for you begin

Let my love for you begin

 

Amandier, Amandier

My true home you are

Where dreams come to life

You are my shining star

What a beautiful sight

What a beautiful sight

 

Amandier, Amandier

You can hear my voice

There is always motion

Together we rejoice

Desert and ocean

Desert and ocean

 

A tear rolls down my cheek, as we all sit down. That song reminds me so painfully of my mother. She sang it to me as an infant, and taught it to me, as a child.    

“And now, it would be my pleasure, to invite you all to the Feast, in the dining hall!” My fathers voice empties the silence. We have a system, for exiting the Hall of Heritage. The rows in the back rise first, and exits. Then the next rows, and the next, and the next. Then the royal family, who will enter the dining hall, when everyone else has been seated. This always takes a while so I sit down on my mother’s throne, one that hasn’t been occupied in for the last eight ceremonies. 

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