Prologue: GraduationA Chapter by Inkjinx
It's the start of the spiral and a sense of fear tugs at one of the graduates.
I cried and laughed along with everyone at the ceremony. The memory of walking across the stage is really vague now; all I remember is sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat. I took the diploma, shook a few hands, and walked across the stage as fast as possible. I’m sure there was cheering, but I don’t remember it. I couldn’t hear anything; it was all a dull roar after that point.
I do remember looking out into the crowd and plucking out a few faces that meant a lot to me; my folks, for one, were cheering and shouting. Most of my siblings couldn’t make it, due to their location being so far spread across the US, but it was nice to see a couple of them and their families showing up for my big day. Well, my big day for the moment.
Other faces that I recognized were those of my best friends since the summer before high school started. Jack and Diane, we called them. It was like they were fated to end up together, like a song. They were always my favorite pairing, and my favorite Asian friends. Even then, I could see their fingers intertwined, even though I was sure that it was Jack that put them there. They held up their hands and jumped to their feet, screaming at me.
I gave them a wave as I walked past, then ran to catch up with Andrew. My arms looped around his neck and he had to catch me as I leapt onto him. My lips smushed against his cheek and I just knew that someone caught a picture to laugh at us with. He caught me by the waist, spun me around, and I clung to him as we returned to our seats. It was there that he turned to me and brushed his thumb beneath my eye. I hadn’t even realized that tears had accumulated there.
The rest of the groups that went up to walk across the stage had their similar routines. I tried to guess if they felt like I did. Were they scared, or just excited to be out? You never knew about any of them. It was strange to see some of the reactions. One person was sobbing as she received her diploma. Another pulled their favorite teacher into a big hug. It was funny; at the beginning of the year, that kid had been known to be the shortest in the school. Now look at him.
None of them had the same expression as we did in middle school, though. Then, half of them were bored and dull-looking. Now, everyone had grown into their faces, everyone had personality, and everyone was excited that they actually had made it. Our year was the most difficult yet to receive enough credits, and no one was more excited than us. We had made it.
Through the entire to-do, none of us remembered going to other graduates’ ceremonies. At them all, we were bored out of our minds, not knowing what to do with ourselves. We sat and applauded until our hands were red and numb, then quit altogether. Nobody liked them except for when someone we knew walked across. But that day, we all were excited to be there, and never was a moment dull. Even as large as the graduating classes were, everyone had at least glanced at everyone in the halls, if not hugged them in years passed. We were all family.
After everyone had walked, Andrew removed his hand from mine and walked up onto stage. As the valedictorian, he spoke with the most powerful words I’d heard him use. It baffled me; he had always been an awkward guy. No matter how much I loved him in years past, there was something awkward about him now and then. He would hesitate during his speech, or he’d jump to something totally weird. At that moment, though, everyone realized just who he was, what he had to say, and listened intently. His speech was clear and focused, and I thought he might cry. I thought I might cry. He recounted entering the school and trying to make his way through the social monarchy, his struggles with band, and his fights with himself as he worked to succeed. He explained the pains he went through just to get his sports standing where it was and to establish the programs he had created. When it was all over, he was the best friend of every graduate sitting in the room, because even though everyone already thought, “Oh, it's Andrew-- everyone knows Andrew,” none of them really knew him. They never really felt his pain. Until now. Everyone in the room was connected with that feeling, and with his last words, no one wanted to let it go.
I cried when he sat down, and he held me like he did four years ago when I was afraid to leave middle school. The words he had left us with told us that life would go on; we would all move on, and even if we didn’t stay in contact, we’d all be part of this class forever. It may not be a physical thing, but it was a mentality that we could all retain. There was now pride in the year 2013, and nobody would forget it. Certainly not us.
In the end, we threw up our caps and cheered. Everyone was excited, but I was still overcome with melancholy. What were we leaving behind? Was it worth it? We had nothing but freedom at our fingertips, but the power left me pale and cold inside.
No more homework assigned to us every night. Power to the graduate! No more waking up early every day. Power to the graduate! No more administrators telling us to take off our beanies. Power to the graduate!
No more comfort of a routine. Power to the graduate.
No more seeing friends every day. Power to the graduate. No more emphasis on the weekend.
Power to the graduate.
I was scared, but maybe I didn’t fully realize what I was getting into; I still ran out and danced with my friends.
© 2010 Inkjinx
Added on January 6, 2010
Last Updated on January 6, 2010
AboutGosh, I haven't updated this in forever. It's nice to change the "About Me" section now and then, don't you agree? I'm fifteen, now a sophomore, and I'm a writer. A published writer, at that! If ev.. more..