70% Fiction: "Graduation Day"

 Photo courtesy of Alex Hayes. 

Photo courtesy of Alex Hayes. 

This short story is part of a new BTI series: 70% Fiction, 30% True.


The principal shouts congratulations and 299 high school students throw their graduation caps into the air in the gym except for the girl sitting in the fourth row because as the caps fly up she sees her entire future in brief seconds like the man she'll settle for at 22 because she’s so tired of going on dates and when he falls in love with her at local Maggiano's he nearly knocks his plate off the table in excitement and then she sees herself making breakfast for the both of them but really all she'd like to do is lay in the hammock they have outside and read her book and then she sees her father being lowered into the ground after he has a heart attack at a Billy Joel concert and then she sees her husband leave and they chalk it up to irreconcilable differences in the settlement like those celebrity marriages and as the caps continue to fall around her the girl sees her son at age nine and even though he's too young she's trying to explain to him that life is not always fair and easy and sometimes when you don't have support from other people you have to make it on your own and then she sees him now at 32 proposing to a beautiful woman that he loves under a street lamp covered in Christmas Lights and as the final graduation caps hit the ground she sees a champagne glass being raised and she's at a table and her son is giving a toast at this wedding and god he looks so handsome but he's about to cry for some reason and he looks right at her and says everything in this life was made possible by you Ma because you gave me everything I ever needed and even though we didn't have much you showed me what it was like to be loved and I have never been more grateful for any other human being in this earth than you and I'm just so happy that you're my mother because I wouldn't change anything and the girl sees herself as a mother listening to this and she's breaking inside and as the final cap softly hits the ground the girl gives a smile and stands and walks out of the gymnasium to go meet her family because they have a celebratory dinner reservation at Maggiano's.