Breakfast had always been a quiet affair for us. We, abnegations, don't talk while eating. It is frustrating at times, but the quiet lets us ponder on our aims for the day, as my father says. Something I might never experience again. Caleb looks just as nervous as I feel. I hardly touch my breakfast. As we make our way to the Hub, mom and dad smile at me and Caleb. As we part on our ways, me and Caleb with the other 16 year olds, and our parents with the other abnegation, my father smiles at me and says,' See you soon'. I try smiling back at him, but I feel more like I'm grimacing. My mother hugs me tightly and whispers in my ear,' No matter what you choose, I shall always love you.' My heart constricts. Does she know I'm about to betray her? Does she know I am a traitor?
My heart beat gets faster as the names get called out. Finally, Marcus, the announcer this year, calls out,' Caleb Prior'. Caleb squeezes my hand tightly and then makes his way over to the platform. He takes the knife and I gaze wistfully at the determined look in his eyes. He never had a problem adjusting, it's just me. And then, like a nightmare come true, I see Caleb hold his hand over the Erudite bowl and tilt his hand to drop blood in it. I close my eyes and open them again, certain that I'm dreaming. But no, he stands there, looking happy as he betrays our parents. Hatred and disgust fill my heart as I watch him smile when the Erudites welcome him to their ranks. At least I feel guilty about betraying my parents.
Marcus's cool clear voice jerks me out of my reverie. For a moment, I can't move. And then like a robot I make my way over to the platform. When Marcus gives me the knife, I nearly drop it; my hands are shaking uncontrollably. I have 5 choices, but only 1 shall keep me with my family. And only 1 shall keep me safe. The choice is mine. I walk over to the platform and glance around the hub. The dauntless are crowded in a corner with proud haughty looks. No, they can't keep me safe. Beside them sit the erudite, I never was power hungry. In the middle of the factions, sit the abnegation. As I watch my mother smile at me and the hurt, tense look in my fathers eyes, I nearly choose abnegation. The candors never were a choice for me, I could never tell a truth. And then, at the far end, I see the amity. The amity have always looked like senseless people to me who often cross the line between trust and stupidity. But as I see them today, I see a faction with no expectations from their members, I see the happiness, the relaxed drop of their shoulders. As I watch them, an amity leans over to the other and whispers something in her ear and they both laugh. I might find a friend there, I might find people who will be ready to sacrifice themselves for me.
And as I watch them, before I get the chance to change my mind, I extend my hand over the amity bowl, cut my hand, and let my blood drop into the earth. I hear my father gasp even from such a great distance, but before I lose my nerve, I walk over to the amity and bury myself in their embracing arms.
The rest of the ceremony goes by in a blur. I think I should be feeling exhilarated, or even just satisfied. But all I can feel is the accusing look in my fathers eyes, and much as I try to ignore it, a disappointment at not choosing dauntless. I chose safety over bravery. I chose peace over fun. I chose amity.