This weekend flew by. Dinners with my family are always exciting. I could wake up and stare at this scenery forever outside my window. All I need to do is wrap myself in a robe and slide my feet in white fluffy slippers to never leave. The mountains and water are a life-size painting that leaves you breathless. As if you could feel the breeze touch your lips and reach far enough to have the water intertwine with your fingers. I don’t want to leave this place.
My mom and I sat in the kitchen baking cupcakes. We talked about the days when I was younger. It usually starts with the sentence, “remember the time when you, dot, dot, dot.” These stories sound different every time.
She caught me up on all the neighbourhood drama about Jim’s new young girlfriend trying to join in their book club. She was shocked that Jim’s girlfriend wanted to join with an iPad and not hold a physical book. She is also considering painting the house from a worn brown to a deep navy blue.
We all went out for dinner. I practically had to drag my parents but they greatly appreciated it after. My parents love to help and treat others to things, however, when it comes to them, it is a hassle and unnecessary burden. I found my ways to get them where I wanted. The sad eyes trick works extremely well on my dad. The sudden suggestion of going somewhere else when we are in the car works on my mom, since, she has nowhere to run and we can automatically lock the door.
My dad and I walked down by the water while my mom went to take care of her other children that we call her garden. Hearing my dad talk about my mom like it was the first months that they were dating always warmed my heart. It is incredible to see that especially since this generation now consists of forty-eight-day marriages, divorces and twerking. I guess you can consider me as an old soul when it comes to certain things.
After a long day, we hiked up the long driveway to the house. The soft breeze of the wind brushing my cheek and the smell of fresh crisp air held up as I struggled to keep up with my dad.
“I can’t believe you are leaving tomorrow,” My dad says.
“That was the only flight I could get last minute,” I reply. Dad holds the door open for me. “We enjoyed your presence in the house again.”
“You need to visit more.” My mom adds from the kitchen. She continues to fill her fresh flowers vase with water as we entered.
“Oh Christy, this came for you yesterday and it looks like you have another one today,” My dad says looking through the mail in his hands.
“You don’t normally get mail here,” mom says.
My eyes stayed glued to my dad’s hands. “I wasn’t expecting anything.”
“Well someone knew you were here,” He flips through the mail once more before placing the rest down on the counter.
My mom tries to hide her smile behind her cup of tea. “Maybe you have a secret admirer or a certain someone who knows you were visiting us this weekend.”
I didn’t tell anyone that I was coming here. My dad hands it over to me. “It doesn’t have a return address, just your name on the front,” he says. “Are you okay? Christy?”
“Did you see who brought it?” I asked.
I could see the concern on his face. “No, I am sorry I didn’t. Are you sure you are okay?”
“I am just a little tired. I am going to pack my things and get ready for bed. I have an early morning flight.”
Mom looks at dad and then back at me. “Have a good sleep.”
“We will see you in the morning,” My dad adds.
I throw the two envelops on my bed. How did this person know that I was even going to be here unless he followed me? Why would this person travel all the way here for the main objective to give me this envelope? I had so many unanswered questions. Was his purpose to scare me? Was he trying to tell me that he is following my every move?
I rip open the first letter. It’s blank. Not a drop of ink was on this paper similar to last time. It must have been last night’s dream which means the one left in my hand was meant to be tonight’s dream. I rip open the second letter and read. I close my eyes allowing my mind to fade and my tensed shoulders to ease.
Many graduation hats spin up in the air, tossing and turning like a coin before falling. Our teachers caution us to not look up when the hats are thrown for the protection of our eyes, but I couldn’t help myself. I was watching the years of school finish in one throw in the air.
We spend pretty much our whole lives in school. This is the chapter before taking the leap into college or university. The moment we all been working towards since kindergarten or since yesterday for some. Most of us know where we are going while some think they know but end up changing their minds. There is a handful of us that have no clue at all what they are going to do with their lives.
I could see my mom and dad in the audience with wide smiles piercing their cheeks. The light seemed to highlight them perfectly. My mom with joyful tears in her eyes and my dad comforting her with his arm around her shoulder. I can only imagine the torn feelings of watching your only daughter finish being a teenager and about to jump into a new world to find where she belongs.
Abby excitedly jumps up and down beside me in her altered graduation gown. It is half tucked in the front of her gold glittered skirt. She was more excited about getting this school over and done with. She already knows all the guys here so there was no challenge for her anymore. She is looking forward to the new beginnings at a new campus.
Then there is Matt. He looked extra sharp in his graduation gown. The light made his eyes sparkle just a little more at this moment. He holds on to my hand before pulling me in for a huge hug. “We did it. We have finally graduated!” he shouts.
In a blink of an eye, my butt sat on someone’s worn out couch with Matt’s arm around me. The living room is not as bright as it should be, the music screamed in every direction and there are lots of classmates and non-classmates everywhere.
“Can we leave?” I shout trying to slide my words in between the beat of the music.
“Are you sure?” Matt asks.
“Live a little Christy it is a graduation party,” Abby says dancing her body to beat by the couch. Her gold skirt glimmers with the poor lighting. “This is the time to start to party before we go to college to party some more.”
Matt helps me up. His hand warm against mine. I didn’t want him to let go. If only I could pause this moment for a little longer. It was as if he knew exactly what I wanted, his hand repositions locking his fingers with mine. “We are going to go.”
“Boo, you both are no fun,” Abby sticks her tongue out.
“You can stay. Don’t let me ruin your fun too,” I say to Matt.
“I only have fun when you are there with me. How about we get some graduation dessert and then I will take you home,” he says.
“Hmm, graduation dessert,” Abby gives me a wink. “Hey Matt, you take care of my girl for me. She is my college buddy and I need her.”
“I will. Don’t go doing anything bad… who am I kidding you are always getting yourself into trouble,” He says, guiding me around the couch.
“That’s what I do best. I will be making out and dancing wild in no time,” she laughs but knowing her that is exactly what she is going to be doing.
While driving in the car, Matt pulls over at a restaurant. An old beaten up sign hung on top of the diner that looked like it has been there for generations. Inside had looked to be non-busy, mostly older couples dining in the booths and police officers drinking coffee and doughnuts at the island.
“I will be right back,” he says, before running in.
I could see Matt making small conversation with the police officers and his eyes grazing over to me occasionally as he chatted. I was sure they were friends of his dad’s and they were congratulating him on the huge achievement. They probably threw in a joke or two about him following his dad’s footsteps then patted his back as they said goodbye.
In no time, he returns with two Styrofoam takeout containers. He places it on my lap before continuing to drive. The car filled with the sweet smell of something baked… a cake or a pie maybe. “I thought you were going to get dessert.” I joked.
“My dad’s force raves about this place. Don’t open it until we arrive at our spot,” Matt keeps looking over at me. I was beginning to think he might get whiplash with the constant turning. “Don’t you dare look into the container.”
“Focus on the road,” I reply.
“I know you,” he says. His eyes grace over my way. “Don’t make me pull this car over missy.”
“Alright, I won’t look,” I place my hand over the top of the container. I don’t need Matt getting us into a car accident over this graduation dessert. Even though the smell of it was filling my airway and testing my self-control. I only wanted a peek. It smelled so delicious with a hint of chocolate. My mind dived into a possibility of chocolates for a moment.
We pull up to a dark forest area. The cool blue still tinted behind the bottom half of the trees and finally disappeared as we parked. “Are you going to give me the best dessert ever and then kill me because this is the perfect dumping ground.”
“You watch way too much Criminal Minds,” He shakes his head. He goes around the car and opens the door for me. I love it when he does that. Not too many boys do that anymore, on the other hand, that is what a well-taught man does. I hold on his hand and follow him up a grassy hill. Little bugs fly away as our feet trenches upwards.
We reached the top of the hill, you can see a sea of buildings everywhere with their city lights twinkling in many directions. It looks just like a billion mesmerizing stars against the dark sky.
“I know that you love the view of the city so I brought you to the best place to view the city,” Matt says from behind me, wrapping his arms over my shoulder and folding it just enough to hold me tight. His arms shield me from the warm breeze that kisses the exposed skin of my arms.
I couldn’t keep my eyes off the spectacular scenery. It’s absolutely beautiful. A private show only for me. “How did you know?”
“I actually listen to what you say. It’s not always nonsense coming out of your mouth,” Matt laughs as he places a blanket down on the grass.
I sit next to him, his arm slightly behind my back. “Can I open it now?”
He nods his head yes. I open my container to see a white chocolate brownie, next to a dip chocolate covered strawberry and two scoops of vanilla ice cream. The letters that makeup ‘I love you’ was spelled out on the brownie with light blue coloured chocolate.
“I love you too,” I say.
“I wanted tonight to be special. I knew you would back out of the party so I had this planned as a backup. Oh, I forgot something,” He takes out two sparklers and places one in each container’s brownie before lighting them up. “I couldn’t get the real fireworks for you so I thought a little version would be okay too.”
My cheeks started to sting from smiling so much. “Thank you.”
“It is nothing. I wish I could have done more for you,” he smiles. “Happy graduation.”
“Happy graduation,” I repeat.
I open my eyes and stretch, no alarm this time. I turn over to see my mom entering my bedroom. “Christy, you overslept. Did you forget to set your alarm clock?”
I look at my cell phone it was eight fifteen and my flight was at nine thirty. I must have forgotten to set my alarm last night. “I will be down in a second.”
My mom leaves with my bags lightly gripped in her hands. I quickly threw on my jeans from yesterday and a grey soft t-shirt with the slim leather collar before entering the bathroom to splash water on my face. I needed the energy boost of cold water to wake myself up. I was not a morning person and that was clear with the sleep that was still apparent on my face. My pair of sunglasses will do the trick. I tuck it behind my cell phone in my hand.
One thing I know about my mom is that she doesn’t like a goodbye. As much as I could tell her that I will see her soon, the realization that there will be miles and miles between us will tug at her heartstrings.
When my foot reached the last step, I could see the tears starting up in my mom’s eyes. It doesn’t fall. It never falls but halts there enough for me to notice. Even though I see this part happening over and over it still hurts to have to make her sad. “Mom I will visit you soon.”
“I am still going to miss you so much,” she says. I hug her tight, allowing the smell of her sweet perfume to consume my airway leaving me not wanting to ever let her go. I wanted to hide behind her legs like when I was younger. Those were the times where I could choose to the decision of which battles I wanted to face and forget about anything that I didn’t want to.
“Come on Christy, we got to get you on the road,” dad says. He was always the stronger one out of all of us. Even though behind that tough exterior was a dad who hated to see this only daughter leave to a city that was out of arm’s length to protect. He hugs me tight and kisses me on the forehead.
“Be safe,” they shout as my taxi pulls out of the driveway. I wave goodbye, watching the road stretch between us and the place I call home fade with the distance through the tinted window. The time is never long enough when I am home.
The airport is filled with families with crying, curious kids and long lines. The security guards checking you out like you are too close to the president of the United States, while other workers laugh in their heads because they can see your underwear or lack of underwear through the body scan.
Okay, I don’t actually know that with their poker faces but I know that I would wonder what that piercing was doing in that particular spot if I saw it. I guess I am not the only one ready to go home today.