I will graduate in exactly two weeks from today.
As that day draws nigh, the number of academic and social events and celebrations have ramped up. Last Wednesday I was inducted into the English Honor Society chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, Theta Beta. This past Monday I met classmates for a end-of-semester (theirs; mine ended at the end of the Winter session) celebration and today, the English department is hosting a soiree for all graduating honor students and award recipients. Before graduation on the 29th there will be other reasons to get together popping up here and there.
Last evening I spoke with the winner of the Glory dress raffle I initiated and funded. As you may remember this was my way, before leaving Hunter, to honor my dear friend Gloria who passed away during the Fall semester of 2017. The raffle was drawn at the start of the induction ceremony and a young lady by the name of Nicolette won. Yesterday we spoke about her style preferences, favorite color(s) and size. The process officially begins. Today I will start scouring my favorite boutiques and consignment shops and I will find her a beautiful graduation dress… on behalf of Gloria.
I hung up the phone after our call and immediately disintegrated. I loved what I was attempting to do. I hated that there was a reason to do it. I should not be doing anything on behalf of Gloria. She should be here. And, she and I should be looking for our own dresses. Together. The 29th should be, was to be a day we celebrated side-by-side. Our majors were different so we would not have been sitting together at Madison Square Garden, but we had planned to absolutely embarrass each other with our shouts when each other’s names were called. We had planned to celebrate together afterward. I thought we had already paid our dues in life and crossing that stage on that day would be the Universe’s “Job very well done. Here’s to you!” acknowledgment. I had no idea there was more to pay. I could never have imagined her cost would be so great.
I will dress Nicolette. On behalf of Gloria. I will cry when I need to. I am crying now. And, when I hear Nicolette’s name on graduation day, I will scream and embarrass her. Nicolette will not know why. But my friend will.