A friend of mine graduated this week, and I joined her after the ceremony to take pictures and congratulate her. She and her very proud parents were all smiles - it was a really beautiful sight. I was so proud of her myself; I really got caught up in the moment, and reveled in all of the joy.
Being there, I started to wonder why I hadn't invited all of my friends to join me on the grass for pictures as per my university's tradition. It seemed so joyous. Standing there with her, I somehow didn't understand how my own convocation could be tainted with any emotion other than joy or pride.
Then when things wrapped up, I walked home. Alone. To an empty apartment. And thank God I had sunglasses, because I cried the whole damn way.
As soon as I walked away, the images of my grad had shifted from friends like dear M***** congratulating me on the grass to images of my parents hugging me and smiling at me like hers were on that day. Images that are no more than fiction for me. Empty hopes.
It's not fair. Mommy, Daddy: you wanted me to graduate, just like you? You both had your parents with you. I don't.
And I don't know how I can be proud of myself without you there to show me.