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Topic: Graduation (08/30/04)
TITLE: To Go or Not
By Margaret Reed
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Now with the final day approaching, guilt had turned into resentment. Deep down she wished things could have been different. 'What on earth am I going to do after graduation?' the question plagued her. Her grades were no were near college material, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to go anyway.
She flashed her eyes toward her mother who stood at the other end of the sofa, and for a moment their eyes locked. Peggy quickly turned and looked into the fireplace. She was determined to not back down for once in her life.
"Well, Peggy, I can't make you go to your own graduation, I just don't understand why you wouldn't 'want' to go?" Doris said deliberately. But on the inside she was hurt and confused. How after eighteen years of raising her, was it possible her own daughter would scoff at the very things she held dear. But she knew she had to let Peggy make her own choice, after all she was becoming an adult. So Doris took a deep breath, smiled and calmly waited for an answer from Peggy.
It felt like hours for Peggy as the silence of her mother loomed in the corner of her eye. 'Why doesn't she just say it and get it over with. Why must she torment me this way? She thinks I'm a dumb, stupid kid that can't make up my mind. Well I can. And I will show her', Peggy declared to herself as she clenched her jaw.
She looked over her shoulder toward her mother and smugly commented. "I'll tell you why I don't want to go!" Peggy started fishing through her thoughts desperate to come up with some excuse that didn't sound like a stupid little child.
She remembered when she was a little girl and went to a church service for the first time with her friend Jamie. And driving home from the service she recalled how Jamie's parents complained about how rigid and boring it was, and how all the pomp and circumstance was so unnecessary.
With that in mind she took a deep breath, sat up on the sofa and collectively she announced, "Well, you see, mom, I am not the kind of person who is impressed with all the pomp and circumstance, it would be much easier if they just mailed me my diploma." Peggy scanned her mother's face for some kind of reaction. But Doris could only stare blankly at her daughter in disbelief.
Peggy quickly jumped to her feet as she tried to think of what her mother might say next. Peggy was ready for a fight. She pivoted on her right heel and looked square in her mother's face. But before Peggy could open her mouth her mother fervently stated,
"Peggy, I can't make you "want" to go. I can only tell you that I'm proud of you and that you deserve to have a little 'pomp and circumstance', this is a celebration of your achievement. I know these last four years have been very difficult for you. You have suffered a lot of pain and disappointment. But, my darling, YOU MADE IT! So Please don't sell yourself short...But I will respect your decision if you choose to not go. They can always mail your diploma."
Silence fell on the room, as Peggy swallowed hard, she heard the birds chirping outside the living room window. The clock in the hallway was counting out time; time she felt was slipping away. She looked out the window, more than anything she wished at that very moment she could be a bird and fly away.