A piece that I wrote for my Imaginative writing class. This is a two track story, wherein two separate events that echo each other. In this, a woman at her daughter's graduation experiences an important moment or her own.
“Today, we are proud to present…” The voice from the podium onstage echoed on and on through the auditorium. I couldn’t see my daughter; she was seated behind me in one of the back rows, just ready to walk up there and make me proud. Her father wasn’t here to support her, but I was. That was all that mattered. I tingled with anticipation, my mind’s eye already seeing her making her way across the room, climbing the stairs and—when her name was called—taking the diploma with her left hand and shaking the administrator’s hand with her right one.
“You’re beaming.” Gabe whispered. He was sitting next to me. The Announcer was still speaking, introducing the valedictorian of my daughter’s class. Not her, unfortunately, but that wasn’t important. She had a pretty high grade point average. Gabe smiled at me in his aloof fashion, more of a smirk than a smile, and I felt my heart flutter. He always made me feel that way. After my marriage ended, I had never thought I would meet a man like him.
“I’m proud,” I said, as the valedictorian—a boy, to my surprise—stepped up to speak. I had sat through three hours of dedications, band performances, and other displays and I was ready to see my baby pass this landmark. His speech went on a while, and it was a bit shorter than I was expecting but I was glad when it was over. He had covered all of the major points: having a strong start as adults, possible college experiences, ethics of hard work and patience, the fact that they were all leaders of the new world. A typical speech, but nice in its own way.
The music began, and the seniors began to line up next to each other, one after the other. I tried to find her in the procession. I couldn’t. She was lost in a sea of blue caps and golden tassels. I thought about calling out her name, for a moment, but that was too obvious. I didn’t want to embarrass her, even if I wanted to go home. It would only be a few more minutes. Maybe a half hour, if I was lucky. Then the closings. And I’m sure that she would want to stay to get her friends signatures, exchanging cards and such. I could go and wait in the car after that. We would then go out to dinner. Her boyfriend would come along, and I know that would make her happy.
She was getting closer and closer to the podium, closer to that sheet of paper that she had worked for four years to obtain. Gabe began to fidget in his seat, and I smiled. He was always restless. “I wanted to ask you something…”
“Yes?” I leaned over, following her progress. They were almost to those with the last name C. Cator was ours. “What’s going on?”
“I’m sorry that this is so inconvenient. I wanted to ask you last night, but you were tired…”
“That’s okay.” She was almost there, one foot after the other. She was on the stairs, now. I guess there weren’t too many Cs in her class. “What is it?”
“Iris…look at me.”
I turned to his attention. “Hurry, please.” She was almost at the top…one more girl…
“I just wanted to ask you…”
“Cator, Isabelle!” The announcer said. It took my attention, and I turned my head to the stage. She was there, her hands outstretched in the right directions, grasping her education in her own two hands. Ready to make something of herself. To start new and further her life.
“I’m sorry to do this right now, Iris, but I’m no good with words. Will you marry me?”
I gasped, whipping to face him. My eyes had missed my daughter’s precious moment.