What was the most important day in my life? Although there have been many, I’d have to say the most important day in my life was during my college graduation. It was a time of blended pleasure for me. On the one hand, I was glad to be done with college; yet, on the other, my brother John wasn’t around to help me celebrate.
I woke up in the morning in tears. As I laid there on the sofa on the morning of my college graduation, a surge of emotion consumed me. Tears gushed out of my eyes. They wouldn’t stop. My grandmother approached me, touching my shoulder, saying, “What’s the matter? You shouldn’t be crying today, Kiki. This is a happy time. You are graduating from college.”
I laid face down on the sofa letting my pillow absorb the waters of my soul. Turning over, I looked up at her, shouting, “I don’t care. I don’t feel like going to graduation. It doesn’t matter to me if I get my degree or not. All I know is John isn’t here to celebrate with me. He was around during my graduation from high school, but not today, because he’s dead. Dead. Do you hear me? He’s dead,” as I sat up and smacked my hand down on the sofa.
“He would have wanted you to go to your graduation, Kiki. You can’t stay home, and not go. You have to go to receive your diploma. You’ve worked hard for it. You earned it. Don’t throw everything you’ve worked hard for all these years away. Johnny would have wanted you to go to your graduation today to get your diploma,” my grandmother cried as she sat on the sofa, putting her arm around me.
My aunt came down the stairs, and entered the living room. “Why are you just sitting there. Kiki, go upstairs and get ready. We don’t want to be late. Your brother and uncle will be coming down in just a little bit to take us up to Western Michigan University.”
Getting up from the sofa, I wiped my tears away with my hands. “I’m not going. It doesn’t matter anyway. The degree is only a piece of paper. Besides, it’s like that father of mine is always saying. Education doesn’t put food on the table. Hard work and suffering does. My degree is a joke. It’s only a B. A. in English and history with a creative writing emphasis. What a joke. It’s a useless degree. Who cares about English and history. Who cares about creative writing. It’s not like I can do anything with such a degree, anyway.”
Just then, the phone rang. My uncle called to tell me my brother wasn’t coming to my graduation, because he was invited to go out some place with his friends.
“Where’s his sense of loyalty? I’m his sister. This is an important day for me. I’m graduating from college only once in my life, and he can’t be there for his own sister. I’ve got to go.” I slammed down the phone and dialed my brothers number. “Stanley, what’s this crap I here about you not wanting to go to my college graduation. It’s an important day in my life today. It’s hard enough having to go without the support of my own brother. I’m more important than your own friends. Either you come down here with that uncle of ours to go with our aunt, grandmother and me to my graduation, or you are dead to me. Do you hear? Dead.” I slammed the phone down hard as the tears came down like a flood.
Upon there arrival to my grandmother’s house, my uncle and brother posed with us for pictures. Then, we all piled into my uncle’s car and headed up to Western Michigan University. We took some pictures outdoors of the campus, and I reported to where the graduates were supposed to go to get ready.
As I entered the building. I don’t remember exactly which building it was, but as I entered it, I was led to a room wear the graduates were asked to fill out cards writing our names in phonetics so they could be pronounced correctly upon going up on stage to receive their degrees. I sat in the auditorium with the other graduates waiting for further instructions.
We were then led into another auditorium where the graduates sat below, waiting for their names to be called. As each student was called up to the stage to receive their degree, knots formed in my stomach. I felt nauseous. I didn’t even want to be there. When my name was called, I walked out on stage smiling, even though deep down I was scared to death.
As I accepted my degree from the person handing them out, he congratulated me. I thanked him as I stepped down from the stage and was escorted back to my seat to sit while the rest of the graduates received their degrees.
The graduates were led outdoors where everyone threw their graduation caps into the air, except for me. I thought it to be pointless. My heart just wasn’t in it. To me, it was just another day. Graduation from college meant nothing to me. It was more important to my aunt and grandmother, but I didn’t care.
I met up with my aunt, grandmother, brother and uncle where we took some more photos outdoors.
“How much longer do we have to stand here posing for photos. I’m anxious to get the over and done with so we can go home. And as for this degree, who needs it,” I shouted while tossing it to the ground.
My aunt picked it up and handed it to me. “Don’t throw out your degree.”
“Why? It’s useless. I never wanted to go to college in the first place. My mother forced me to go. I only wanted to get a job after graduating from high school working any place. I didn’t care where. I never asked to attend college. And now, I have this useless degree of which I had to pay thousands of dollars out of my own pocket. I was not only a full time student, but I had a fulltime job working at a fast food restaurant. I endured so much stress throughout those years I was in college, it’s a wonder I didn’t have a heart attack,” I stammered. I put on a fake smile as I posed for pictures with my brother, my aunt, my grandmother, and my uncle.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2016