A Reunion and an Excision: The Story of Leo and Siniret

Leo and Siniret had been apart for days. During that time the lion had awakened something he had never felt before – loneliness. He had never known a feeling like this; it was a mixture of longing and aching that he couldn’t shake. Siniret had gone on an excursion to visit family, leaving Leo to wander throughout the savannah on his own. He had finally declared his love for Siniret and they had given a rather impromptu commitment ceremony, so it felt too soon to be away from her. They had been through so much together, surviving on passion, each other, and a bit of luck.

As if on cue, Siniret's silhouette appeared in the horizon. Leo sprinted towards her, breathing in the scent of his home coming. But something about Siniret seemed different; she was eerily silent, her eyes narrowed in purpose. Immediately Leo knew something was wrong. He silently followed her, wondering what the mysterious silence meant. He quickly discovered that Siniret hadn’t come alone. A small tribe of gazelle had accompanied her, and it had become apparent that they were there to perform an excision.

In gazelle culture, excision is an important traditional coming-of-age ceremony. As the gazelle boys approached, Siniret had taken out a knife from her bag that had been blessed by an elder of her tribe. Leo watched in awe as the gazelle boys stepped forward with absolute strength and bravery. One by one they steeled themselves for the excision. Siniret was gentle yet firm, and carefully made a small incision in the boys’ foreheads. Her strong arms tightly embraced each one afterwards, and she whispered loving words of comfort to them.

Leo looked on with admiration as he watched Siniret tend to each of the boys. He felt immense pride knowing that he was part of the same species as her and he was in awe of the courage and kindness she exuded. By performing this ceremony of excision, Siniret was helping lead these boys to adulthood – a completely foreign concept to the lion. That night, Leo and Siniret snuggled up together and she explained the importance of this ritual to Leo with happy tears in her eyes. Leo smiled too, a newfound appreciation of Siniret’s culture dawning on him.

The morning sun slowly rose, and Leo knew that this day was the beginning of their adventure in more ways than one. Together, the two of them set off in search of the unknown, their courage and love giving them the strength to carry on with hope in their hearts.

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