Graduation (A Short Story)

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        We walked into the room. Heads held high, chests puffed out, proud to finally be done with those treacherous four years of high school. Everyone took our seats. I sat next to my co-valedictorian, my friend Rachel. I watched as you took your seat in front of me, you’d grown so much. You’ve always had a fully developed face and body, but now. You looked amazing. You were the captain of the soccer team, track all-star, and wrestling champion. You were also athlete of the year, meaning you had to give a speech.

        As they started the ceremony, I watched you confidently take your stand at the podium. The room got silent and you began your speech, “Over these final years, you learn a lot. You mature and grow in ways you never thought possible. You accomplish goals and dreams you held throughout your younger years. All this is made possible by the people you surround yourself in. When I was younger as many of you know, I wasn’t exactly the greatest student. Didn’t have the best grades, was always in trouble, maybe even did something illegal every once in a while. But when high school began I changed the people I was with everyday.”

        You cleared your throat and continued, “The people we thank for this is your friends, family, teachers, even your coaches. But for me, I’ve had the opportunity to have someone even more special guide me through high school” My eyes slid to my friend, Lilly, she shot me a sad smile both of us knowing that four years ago you would have meant me. That’s not the case now. “My dearest love, Jessica, I just wanted to thank you for everything. I would be no where without you. You are my everything and I will love you forever. And so I say to you now graduating class of 2015, everyone needs a Jess in their life, may you all find someone as special to you as she is to me. Thank you.”

        The room cheered and I saw her eyes lit up as you walked past her back to your seat. Don’t be mislead, I’m not jealous. I just miss being part of your life. We used to be best friends. Until 8th grade. It was the final weeks before school ended, we had begun to become really close again. That’s when you gave Jessica a chance. I was happy for you. Until suddenly I wasn’t important anymore. You stopped caring if we talked or if you saw me. Your full attention was around her, I was very happy for you just I missed the attention being best friends had given me.

        One night we were talking and you told me you had a good feeling about her. You told me she could turn your life around. It bothered me, because that meant all I had tried to do to turn your life around had meant nothing. You had problems you wouldn’t tell me about. After that, I began to allow myself to drift away from you so I wouldn’t ruin anything. You didn’t realize, or if you did you didn’t mind. By the time promotion came around we never spoke, or talked, or even acknowledged each others pretense.

        High school made us drift every farther apart. I knew everything you did, but you didn’t care about me. And now here we are at graduation, four years later. Best friends that fell apart. They called my name and I went to give my speech. I sighed sadly and looked into the crowd. “High school is a time where people find themselves. Sometimes when you find yourself you lose the person you used to be. This can either be good or bad. Usually it is a change for the better. But the people you lose, must change as well. I’m going to tell you all a story. I used to be best friends with someone, I loved him very much. He loved me as well, but we were friends. I was okay with that, I loved being his friend. But he decided to change.”

        My friends smiled at me encouragingly, “When he changes I lost him. Now I don’t have that connection we used to share with anyone. I’m proud of him, he’s done so well. My point of all this is everyone has that secret best friend. The ones you made plans with about your future, the ones you’ll never forget. You need to realize that you can never forget those who loved you. Once in a while take the time to thank them, with a hug or talking to them, even just a wave around town. Graduating class of 2015 take your best friends in your heart as you continue to grow and learn. We made it.”

        The room lit up everyone cheered loudly and everyone began smiling at one another. I took my seat again avoiding your eyes. The rest of graduation went smoothly and every one's speeches were a great success. When they began to call names to give diplomas, we watched carefully. As we finished everyone began to talk to their friends,congratulating them. Everyone took pictures and couldnt stop smiling. My friends and I all gathered, our parents were going to take us to dinner. Just as we were getting ready to leave you came to me.

        “Hey...” You smiled down at me. I smiled back but didn’t say anything. “So... Do you think we could take a picture together?” I nodded and smiled as we took our picture. “Thanks, see you later?” “Yup.” You walked back to Jessica and I just sighed.

Three years later:

Your sitting in your living room watching tv. “Babe you’ll never guess whats front page news.” Jessica came over to you and set the paper in your lap. The heading was Fame comes to small town girls after all, but fame is fleeting.  You began to read the article. It was about a girl who had lived in the small town growing up, she had made it to Broadway. She was famous in the world of theater. She had come back to visit her friends in the small town. When she got here she was driving home one late night and she hit black ice. The car swerved and hit a tree. She went flying through the windshield. She died instantly.

It said the only thing salvageable from the wreak was a photo of the girl at graduation. The photo was printed in the paper. It took you a while before you realized you had the same photo. It was of me and you at graduation. It was the last time we ever spoke.

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