I had my hands in the air and a big smile on my face. The steady flashes from the various cameras made me feel like a star. This was the day that I had been waiting, twelve long years for. and it was finally here. It felt like a dream. I looked to my left at my two best friends, my aces, my girls since the fourth grade, Nasha and Tory. By the look on their faces, they were just as excited as I was. It was their day, too.
My smile got bigger as I watched the principal approach the podium. She was all smiles, as usual. Ms. Givings was a gift to this school, and we all knew it. She had done in four short years what nobody else had seemed to do. Tame the students at Vashon High. She had also made my life easier, and she had been determined to see every senior graduate.
Not that I was a troubled student. I just always seemed to be where trouble was. She had my back every time, constantly reminding me, I deserved better, and that she was going to make sure I became a lady. Not that anyone could do that. I put on a front for her most days, just as I did my mom. But I still had my own mind and regardless of where or when, I was determined to stay me.
“And now it is with the greatest honor I present to you all the biggest graduating class since 1996, the Vashon High graduating class of 2011.” she was clapping so hard her jaws were shaking and her smile looked like it hurt, but she was happy and I could see tears of joy in her eyes. Vashon was not a school place for the faint of heart. It sat right in the middle of three neighborhoods that didn’t like each other much. Every teen in the area went to this school. As a result, there were lots of fights. Lots of cops. There had even been a few mass fights. Ms. Givings had shut all that down.
Then, as if on cue, the auditorium erupted with applause, and our class song was coming from the speakers even louder, “Hear me coming,” by Yung Joc. Looking around, you could see people dancing, jumping up and down, hugging each other. We had made it and we were coming I hope the world was ready. I was almost knocked over as my friend’s bum-rushed me with hugs. “we made it,” I said.
“I know right,” Nasha said, “we free.”
“We out this bitch,” Tory put in.
“Yes, yes,” I said, tossing up my graduation cap. I scanned the crowd, looking for the most important person in my life. Where was she? I knew she wanted a picture of us all.
“Looking for me, princess.” I turned around with a frown. I loved my mama more than pancakes, but I hated that nickname she was determined to keep calling me.
“Yes, I was looking for you, and can you please stop calling me that. I’m far from a princess,” I said, hugging her, “but you’ll always be my queen.” I kissed her cheek and gathered with my girls for the pictures we wanted. We ended up having a photoshoot, and I hadn’t even noticed that a couple of other people had joined in the group.
“So Vikki,” Terrance, too hot for anyone but me, was saying. “you coming to Tony’s party tonight right?”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, boo,” I said, kissing his cheek. He wasn’t my boyfriend, but he was definitely my boo, and he really was fine, fine. A little on the dumb side since the boy kept failing everything, but he was cool and easy on the eyes. I did not know how he was even graduating, because he never went to class. But here he was so...... who was I to question fate.
“I’ll see you there,” He said, picking me up wedding style for a picture my mama was taking. then he walked off with his friends.
“Please tell me you going to give that boy a chance now that we out of school, he been crushing on you for like five years,” Tory said
“Yep, since eighth grade,” Nasha confirmed while putting on her lip gloss.
Terrance was my crush, as well, but he was also Nasha’s twin brother. I always told my friends that I wouldn’t date a guy from school because of all the hateration that be going on, but that wasn’t entirely true. I just didn’t want a boyfriend. As far back as I could remember, my mom had never had a boyfriend, never even gone on a date, and she was beautiful. Tall light caramel skin, almond light brown eyes, beautiful wavy hair, and she never dated. Not that men didn’t try. She got hit on every time we left the house, and she always nicely turned them down. I figured I wasn’t missing anything, and I wanted to focus on myself.
I slowly shook my head. “naw, I’m good. but y ’all coming to the part with me right?”
“Damn right,” Tory said, doing the two steps, “I’m going home with somebody's son, tonight.”
I smiled and watched her shake her abnormally large behind. Tory was not what you would call a slut, but she enjoyed being the center of attention, especially if it was male attention, and she liked inexperienced guys. She said she liked to be the leader, whatever that meant. Nasha was a closet freak, a good girl on the outside but behind closed doors, she was a beast, or so I had heard, literally, I had heard, and me I was a flirt or maybe a tease, cause I never backed up my flirting. I have only ever slept with one guy. It was a summer fling, that we both walked away from happily.
“Vikki we need to go, I have to be at work in a couple hours and I wanna talk to you before I go.” My mama was saying, and I was actually thankful. I knew my friends were about to drill me about Terrance.
“Okay, mama,” I said. To my friends I said, “Be ready at eight or I’m going by myself.”
Then I turned away and me and mama made our way to her car. She cranked up the engine and started towards our apartment in silence. I had a feeling what she wanted. She figured I was going to move out, which I was. Our apartment was just too small, it just wasn’t big enough. My friends and I had already decided to get an apartment together. I couldn’t take the silence, so I switched on the radio and started singing with three six mafia about chicken-heads.
“What did you want to talk about mama,” I asked? Suddenly she looked sad, and I think she was tearing up a little, but she kept her eyes on the road so I couldn’t really tell. what the hell was it with her. For the last week she had been very distant towards me and I was really getting sick of it. We were always close. We were all we had. I didn’t want her to be mad at me.
“Is it because I’m moving in with Nasha and Tory?” I asked.
“No Vikki,” she said, turning onto our street, “you won’t be moving in with your friends.”
“You don’t want me to?” I asked, surprised. It was all that I had talked about for months.
She pulled into the parking lot. “I want you, to do, whatever you want to, but unfortunately it’s not up to me or you at this point. We have to finish this conversation tonight, when I get home. I’m running late. I’ll be off at ten. You better be here.”
I watched her scurry out of the driveway on her way to work. As soon as she was gone, I pulled out my phone and texted my friends. “Pick me up at eight,” is what I sent. There was no way I was missing that party.
Three hours later, I sat in the same backyard I had so many times before. Only this time, I was anxious. I kept imagining my mom coming into this backyard and dragging me out of here. As ten o’clock approached, I got antsy and stood up ready to make a run for, to try to beat her home.
Nasha and Tory stood up too, ever at the ready for any bullshit that might happen. I hadn’t told them what my mom said earlier. I was hoping to change her mind somehow and take a stand. Let her know I was an adult now. Those were great words in my head, only I knew I’d never say them to her.
“What’s your big?” Nasha asked.
“I gotta go.” I said, making my way to the gate.
“Wait, girl!” Tory said, grabbing my wrist. “What’s going on?”
I looked at my friends and I wanted to explain, except I didn’t know what was going on. “I did something really stupid.”
“What you do?”
“Look, my lady told me I couldn’t come to the party tonight, okay. I came anyway and now I’m freaking out.”
Tory shook her head, clearly not understanding. “Why would she want you to stay home?”
Nasha said, “Man, your mom is bugging, I mean it ain’t like she can whip your ass or something, hunny you grown.”
“No, yall don’t understand I gotta live with her.” I said, laughing.
“I know you ain’t tryna shake out.” Terrance said, walking up beside his sister, holding up a blunt. “I was just about to spark. The party is just starting and we ain’t danced yet.”
I opened my mouth to explain that I didn’t want any weed and yes, I was definitively leaving, but Tori beat me to it. “Yeah, she ain’t bout that life,” she said, snatching the blunt, knowing I would not smoke, “but I am.”
“Terrance, I really to have to go. I’ll catch you later.” I said, walking away, only to be stopped by Terrance again.
“You might not smoke or dance with me,” he said, “but you can at least have a shot with me.” He flashed me his one hundred-watt smile, and I ignored my friends behind him, making Kissy faces at us. Still, I caved, one shot and I should still be able to get home on time to beat my mom.