Cap and Gown
The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.
Sun punishes my pale, unscreened face. The decorated red cap provides no protection as it glides from the back of my head to the soft, warm grass. As we are guided to our seats, onlookers scream and cheer our names. The mid-life crisis key note speaker drones about his own “rite of passage” 30 or so years ago. His hangover story the day of graduation suddenly reminds me of Franco’s flask as the sun bears down on the gowns at 10am. Secretly hoping that the camera would glimpse me, I take a quick swig and pass it down to Zach.
Queue the adolescents.
Cue their names.
Hand them empty folders.
Deafened by the crowd, I hope to hear the cheers of my vocational family.
I fight to say “good luck”, “have fun”, “see you later” and embrace my friends when suddenly my phone chirps.
Mom: We’ll meet you at your house.
“What degree?” “Why English?” “What now?” “Why don’t you move back?”
“Why don’t you move back?” “What degree?” “Why English?” “What now?”
“What now?” “Why don’t you move back?” “What degree?” “Why English?”
“Why English?” “What now?” “Why don’t you move back?” “What degree?”
I feel my face flushing, voice straining, and patience waning. My soccer mom Aunt Kara calls me an “ungrateful bitch” and refuses to leave the car. 15 minutes later, my mom and grandma climb back in the SUV to go thrifting, leaving me with my 6’7” step-dad Jeff to take me home before he drives back to Wenatchee alone.
Undressing in the heat and curling, crawling into my covers, I celebrate by myself as my eyes drift slowly.