Mondays. Manic. Happy. Sometimes cheap. Mine was dull. It was graduation, part deux. Dressed in my finest I begrudgingly slipped on that monstrous cap and gown and made way to my seat. Two minutes later, the music started. Personally I wouldn't call the organ, music per se. It's more like the wail a piano makes as it crashes to the ground, dying. You know; like they do in cartoons.
The organ continued for ten minutes, bleating and thundering, forcing every eardrum to endure its slow painful death in a ten mile radius. I wondered if the pianist was deaf. And then wished I was.
Eyes darted to the nearest exit. If I took a quick left, back ten paces and then out the door, I'd be free. My ears could rest. I would breathe in the fresh air, smell the freedom. I imagined it smelt good.
I didn't find out. Couldn't. I was squished between two people; our chairs packed so closely together I deduced that the girl next to me was extremely fond of garlic. Or perhaps she was terrified of vampires. It wasn't pleasant, either way.
Suddenly, a procession of people appeared; dressed in multicoloured gowns depicting their levels of education. Boredom hit me. Struggling to compress a yawn, my face contorted to demented levels and Garlic Girl gave me the evils. Stop doing that, weirdo, she said. Well, her face said it all.
The speeches began and I found myself dreaming of what I would do when released. I would eat cakes and drink vodka and go for long walks on the beach, relishing in my freedom. Phasing back to reality, the Mayor was staring at me intently. I turned to the right of me; nothing but a row of empty chairs and an angry woman at the end, beckoning. If she could have punished me, she would have. Oh yes.
Led backstage, I awaited with my fellow graduands. Some spoke of their nerves, their excitement, their achievements. I prayed I wouldn't fall over my own feet and land on my arse. When I finally reached the stage, name called, my mind drifted again. Somewhere above in the clouds I hovered whilst my body dumbly nodded and shook hands with I don't know who. One step, two step. Here come the stairs. Don't fall down them. Nearly back at your seat. Ah. Potential embarrassing situation averted. Relief.
The rest of the ceremony fluttered past in a daze of monotony. Hands went numb from all the clapping. Garlic Girl continued to breathe her smelly self all over me. And the Mayor couldn't take his eyes off me. I doubt he had a little crush. Looks like I won't be welcomed back any time soon.
I'm still pleased that I went. I have stories to tell, memories to recall. That's the best part. Oh and the whole getting a degree thing. Oops. Forgot about that...
So in light of graduation season, I thought I would leave you with a few words of wisdom:
'There is a good reason why they call these ceremonies 'commencement exercises.' Graduation is not the end, it's the beginning.'
Fingers crossed he's onto something there...