May 22nd, 2015
The stage was lined with tassels and royal blue gowns, the sound of clapping reverberated throughout the gymnasium in an echo of violent enthusiasm. We'd made it. Senior year was over. Our lives could finally move to the places that they were meant to go.
When I took my diploma, and turned towards the crowd, that sea of faces, I could hear and see my brothers screaming my name, my Mother wiping tears away from her eyes as I held my moment of triumph in deeply.
Sean was standing up, a full 6 foot now, and a handsome devil who always gave the ladies a hard time. He was always seen in his tight t-shirt and jeans, with some type of sun glasses hiding those hazel eyes of his. Zach dressed and looked the same for the most part, though he chose to mainly wear hoodies and you could always see those chocolate brown eyes, full of sympathy, beneath a bed of dark brown hair.
My mother was quite noticeably shorter than all of us, with short blond hair and blue eyes that mimicked mine almost perfectly. She always had a smile, and a look of confidence and empathy.
"Austin McKinley," The announcer said, "Son of Martha, and Donald McKinley."
I flinched for a moment, hearing his name, and I saw mom's smile disappear for a moment, as I stepped off the stage, and down into the bleachers, I felt the weight of my father's absence.
He was never there, and he never would be. That was just the simple fact, he had given into his demons and left his three sons and his wife when I was about five. I never got a letter, a phone call, or a visit from him. His actions spoke volumes, he wasn't a father. He was just the one who donated sperm to make my siblings and I.
My thoughts of him broke away as I sat down and saw Lily grasping her diploma, with that small smile she sometimes had, probably the most happy she could ever be seen in public.
"Lilith Morrion," The announcer boomed, "Daughter of Brenna and Rayne Morrion."
Her parents were probably the loudest in applause during the assembly, like banshees wailing for attention. She had her mother's beautiful features, and her father's black hair and blue eyes, and they were both proud of anything and everything that she did. They had high connections in the world, and were very well known in the business world. Lily reflected this, not in arrogance, but in the way she walked and talked, her elegance and manner of speaking. She was the definition of classy.
She got down the stairs with ease, whereas most of the other girls nearly broke their legs trying to walk in the high heels they'd all worn. Considering her heels were much bigger than most of the others, this made Lily look almost like a goddess, not that she didn't already give that off.
With a firm clack and a quick movement she planted herself in the seat next to me, staring up at the stage with a strange curiosity that burned in those dark blue eyes.
"Darrian's up next." She said matter-of-factly.
I nodded without a word as he and Michael Needleman took the stage. Darrian's black hair fell out of his cap, though it didn't look too sloppy, and his saffron eyes darted nervously into the stands, looking for his parents, finding them nowhere to be seen.
"Another bender probably." Lily muttered, following his eyes and seeming to automatically realize what he was searching so desperately for. When his gaze turned to us, he smiled, seeming semi-relieved that he found someone. As the announcer called his name, we screamed as loud as we could, showing he didn’t need them, someone was still here to care about him. He was family to me anyways basically, we'd known each other so long. He nodded appreciatively as he hurried down the stairs to the seat next to Lily, while Michael took his place. Michael was a linebacker for the football team, tall, olive tone skin with hair that looked like a muddy brown, cut short and close to his skull.
Lily, sharpened her gaze as she watched him, and let out a soft exhale, rolling her eyes and placing one leg over the other, showing off her legs without revealing anything scandalous. The guy in front of us turned to whisper in his friend’s ear, needless to say when he saw her he nearly fell out of his chair drooling like an animal.
Michael took his diploma and turned with a bright smile and a bow, while all the football and military guys in the arena began to chant as he got off the stage, sitting next to Darrian.
There weren’t very many truly interesting people after Michael, or at least none that I planned to acknowledge. A few ex girlfriends littered the bunch, but that was to be expected, I couldn’t escape them no matter where I went.
When the final colleague walked across the stage, and received the certificate to his new life, we were told to throw our caps. So we did, parachutes of blue hovering into the sky and then back down as quickly as they went up.
My brothers were the first ones to find me, Sean nearly tackled me to the ground while Zach sat back and laughed hysterically.
“You can get off me now.” I said, though my lungs were losing their oxygen from how tightly he was holding me.
“I can’t believe I’m related to someone who actually graduated!” He roared, “Maybe there IS hope for this family!” Mom shook her head as she came up behind him, finally managing to pry my not-so-little brother off of me, and embracing me herself.
“I am so proud of you, sweetheart.” She said, tears welling in her eyes, and in mine.
“Thanks mom.” I said awkwardly as we stared at each other.
Zach stepped up beside her and I let go of Mom to give him a hug as well, him beginning to get all grossly sentimental on me. He tugged at his sleeves and moved the tears out of his eyes as he moved away from me. They all smiled, and I smiled back, I had made it now.
Lily and Darrian moved through the crowd to join me, Sean looked over and caught a glimpse of her, and then, with glee in his eyes hurdled towards her and have her in his arms and whirling around.
“Thanks sweetie,” Lily said with a half grin, “You can put me down now.”
He did as she commanded him and immediately my mother rushed over and hugged her, having known her for so many years Lily was like a second child to her, as was Darrian. While they embraced Darrian walked up next to me with a shy smile, and then looked at the ground. Zach frowned a little and moved towards him, wrapping an arm around his shoulder.
“I know they didn’t come man,” He said, “Don’t let that get you down though, your friends are still here, and we’re going to that party later, that’ll definitely make you feel better!”
My mom let Lily go and then clung to Darrian, wrapping her hands around his shoulder and tried squeezing the piece of his heart that had just been broken back into place.
Darrian smiled and graciously accepted the hug, seemingly enthusiastic, but when Lily turned and caught his eye, you couldn’t help but notice the disappointment that was so evident in those bright eyes of his.