The graduate.

                 Two weeks ago today, I graduated from high school. It is a weird feeling, let me tell you. I went through the entire thing feeling a little numb. Your whole life, you say things like "after I graduate" and do everything to get yourself to that point. And then one day you wake up and it's there. Your cap and gown are hanging up in the bathroom so the steam from the shower can get the wrinkles out, since you left it in the package at the top of your closet. It was too soon to look at it, since of course it wasn't actually going to happen. Then you have to look at it. I woke up that morning and talked to Marly in bed. I told him it was a big day. A milestone. He just looked at me sympathetically with his big brown eyes. I went to school for a while and then Tatiana (one of two best friends) and I went home as usual, riding in my car with the windows down and singing at the top of our lungs. The last time we would do that after school. I got the house ready for our guests and eventually it was time to get myself ready. It was an emotional shower. That's where I do all my best thinking. Before I went to get Tatiana, my dad and I shared a tender moment that left us both in tears. 18 years has gone by too quickly. 
               Tatiana and I walked into the big gymnasium, where everyone was smiling from ear to ear, and all the girls were strapping their caps to their heads with bobby pins. The air was thick with bittersweet endings and goodbyes. We eventually walked in lines out to the field and I stood in the front row of seats, my eyes searching the crowd for my family, the ones who have been there to cheer me on my entire life, who have seen it all. I felt my cheeks get hot and my eyes grow misty. I blinked the tears away. We all sat down and then it became a blur. My name was called in the first section, and then I spent the rest of the time reflecting on my life and half listening to the names of my classmates. 
               I didn't feel many emotions during the class president's closing speech (more just like "holy crap 12 years of anticipation and it's all going to be over in a minute"), but then I looked up and saw my dad looking at me and I could see that from behind his sunglasses he was crying. His face was twisted up in that way it always does when he is trying to not bring attention to his crying self. That's when I started to cry too. I will never forget that moment between us. Kind of a celebration for the two of us and how far we have come. For the times ten years ago when we were just starting out just the two of us. For the times when he didn't really know how to cook dinner. For the times he thought he couldn't make it another day as a single dad. For the time when I first got my period and he had to awkwardly explain to me what the heck was going on. For us starting over in the Bay Area and not knowing anyone. For us getting along just fine, better than we ever thought. That's what we are really celebrating. Let's throw our caps up for that.

Unknown said...

congratulations on graduating! what an exciting thing :D
Rosie xo
A Pocketful of Rosie

Jess said...

thanks rosie! :)