7 AM

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At last, the final day of class. I'll be graduating next week.

The liberating thought suddenly came to me as I walked towards the gates of St. Biers Academy, the school I went to for high school.

"Good morning, Lauren!" Romeo, one of the nicest security guards at school, greeted me with a big smile.

"Good morning to you too, Romeo." I replied.

As I passed in front of him, he gently tapped my shoulder. "Hey, congratulations! You'll be graduating on Tuesday! By the way, thanks again for the doll you gifted. My youngest was so happy!" His smile was now bigger than earlier.

"Thanks! Oh, you're welcome. I'm glad she liked it." I replied, smiling happily and waving back at him, while I continued walking past the guardhouse and into the school grounds.

This will be the last time I'll be entering the campus together with my schoolmates who look so lifeless every morning. All students walking at this ungodly hour towards the school gym are still too sleepy, desperately dragging themselves through the school grounds to attend the 7:20 AM morning assembly. I swear if they just groaned occasionally, they would all look like zombies.

After six long years of high school, I'll finally be attending university by next school year. By then, I won't need to wake up at 5 AM to bathe in arctic cold water. I won't be imprisoned anymore at school from 7:20 AM up to 4 PM for five days a week. I won't need to attend the Saturday meetings of the three clubs I joined. And best of all, I won't need to wear the skirt of our required school uniform!

I feel like I'm a prisoner who will finally be set free from my six years sentence.

I headed to the powder room to freshen up a bit.

I applied a thin layer of face powder, making sure to not get them on my bangs that laid up to my eyes. I carefully patted the powder foam around my eyes, which everyone says, were cat-like. I then gently combed my straight, black hair that flowed down to my shoulders. I also applied some colorless lip balm, which made my lips appear redder and made them gloss a bit. I never liked applying lipstick, but I had to constantly put on the balm of lip gloss to prevent my lips from cracking while I stayed inside the school's air-conditioned gym and classrooms. I didn't spray some perfume anymore since I can still smell the one I applied before leaving the house.

After freshening up, I stared at myself in the mirror.

I should be excited since I'll be graduating soon, but why do I seem unhappy?

I walked out of the restroom, now with a lingering feeling of sadness, which I do not know where it was coming from.

I cherished every moment of my last walk towards the school gym.

I took in all the details I could see from the school grounds I passed, the buildings, the gardens, the canteen, even the tables and benches that served as meeting spots of friends during break time.

I also passed by the Guidance Office and thought about saying hi to the kind and very caring counselors inside, but I decided against it at the last moment and just resumed walking.

While on the path towards the gymnasium, I looked over to my left and noticed that the damaged school wall still hasn't been fixed. A few months back, a hurricane caused a tree to fall, which left a U-shaped hole in its upper section. The destruction allowed tip-toeing students a view of the forest-like vacant lot belonging to the exclusive residential village adjacent to our school.

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