The bagpipes start playing. Girls in white and boys donning green and white ties walk down the hot pavement in pairs. I bring my phone up to take a picture and I feel a chill go down my left side. Muscle memory? Is that what they call the visceral reaction to the sound of graduation? Two days ago, I wrote in my journal, “I know when this weekend is over it won’t take me a few days or weeks to process – it will simply feel like it never happened at all.” And as I sit in the airport, waiting to board a flight to Lima, Peru, that’s exactly what it feels like – like nothing at all.
I used to feel different every time I stepped onto my boarding school campus. Larger than life the first time, smaller the next, forgotten at one point, but always trying to prove I was still relevant or somewhat “worthy” (although of what heritage I am not sure). This time, I stepped onto campus and stepped off feeling completely in my own skin. It was nice, for the first time in a long time, to feel like I was my own person. I didn’t belong, never really did, but this place was something that put its footprints on me. As much as I wanted to make my imprint count, perhaps it is the former that matters more.
I sat in a row with my entire family, watching as my infant sister walked up to receive her diploma (unlike our year, they actually got real diplomas rather than fake ones so they could throw them). I felt old. Normal. Tonight all these high school graduates will be doing silly things pretending to be old and I’ll be on a flight to Peru, and it’ll be as if nothing ever happened at all.