I can faintly see myself now in three months, the same face, the same clothes, perhaps slightly longer hair, and an iridescent radiance emulating from my skin. "This is it," I will think as I walk through the aisles lined with fellow students wearing graduation gowns, "this is the end." Relief will consume me; never again will I have to walk these high school halls. I will look over to my dearest friends and smile for I know they will be thinking the same thing. But as I dwell on my good fortunes, I know that I will be hit by a wave of great sadness. The child within me will die the minute I take my diploma for I will have crossed the threshold into adulthood. The days of carelessness and naivety will be no more; I will be thrust into a world I am not yet able to comprehend or function in. Graduation is more like a funeral for lost innocence than anything else.
And after it all, after the celebrations, the congratulations, and the countless glasses of champagne, after it all I will sit in solitude and have to confront the bitter sweetness of leaving my childhood behind. Not only that, but also my friends. My closest companions and I will be separated, torn apart by our dreams. And even though I know that distance will not faze my friendships, I can't help but mourn the death of an era I'll never experience again. That era being characterized by languid afternoons, getting high and doing everything but really nothing at all, and chain-smoking, endless photo shoots, and aimless driving. We have to give some of that freedom up now that we have more responsibilities; now that we're entering a new phase of life.
I am sad yet strangely elated. For although I must move on, I am comforted by the fact that I'll always have my memories. And at night, when I am alone in an alien place, I will revisit my teenage years. And I will still be able to taste the sweet flavor of youthful freedom.
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