1. i’m wandering the halls of an auditorium building. my dress is cool but the robes are hot so i don’t put them on just yet. everyone is setting up the cake. then we’re lining up in the heat and the velvet of our hoods draped over our arms. after commencement, i shake the poet’s hand.
there’s some guilt because i was a little snippy with my father earlier. he got very impatient. my grandparents are always yelling at each other. the two sides of the family that came to visit separate into little circles, not because they don’t get along, but that’s just how it works.
i wonder, if my mother were here, would i be here–at this place in time? who would i be? and why does this always have to be a question.
i can’t wait to get home before our dinner; to pack the regalia away for the rest of the future.
2. my chin is on my knees. the thing i see most clearly are little grains of sand stuck to my legs. the thing i like about not wearing glasses is my eye becomes like an out of focus camera lens. the close ups become macro shots. the distant scenes, impressionist paintings. but i’m not feeling well.
“what are you thinking about?” he says.
“just the feeling” i reply. “it feels weird.”
it feels out of control, is what i meant to say. it was fun for a while. but i hate not remembering things, apparently especially when i’m alone with a boy. it scares me, i guess because i’m a young woman and i should be scared of those things. my eyes get full and my head in my hands–i can’t stop crying.
“aw. i’m gonna throw you in the river…no one here wants to hurt you” he says. he grips my shoulder hard. “no one here wants to come bother you.” but i don’t believe him. because i’m naked on a riverbank and i can hear gross men talking. and i’m crying for all kinds of reasons other than this, maybe. there’s snot and tears everywhere and it’s probably unattractive.
“do you wanna talk about it? you can tell me anything. you can talk to me about anything.”
but i don’t wanna say how much i want him. or how much it bothers me when he talks about other girls or someone he was with literally the night before. or how much i want other girls so i’m a hypocrite, or how i still think this friend/relationship ultimately won’t work out so we should just skip to the goodbye.
“i don’t know. i’ll. just save it for the therapist.”
3. we’re driving home, the same day. in my head i picture my mother and father dancing at their wedding. she’s wearing her white horn-rimmed glasses. i’m still a little high, but not drunk anymore.
“my parents were so different” i confess. “i’ve been struggling with feeling like half of my identity, my personality, is lost.” we hold hands – he says something like
“but by just being you, you are like her. in that way you honor her.”