The Haunted Mansion
I can’t believe it, Faye thinks, her face contorted into one of annoyance. We’ve been rained out on graduation day.
At approximately 11:30 a.m., the skies opened up and the guests, the officials, and the students were squeezed into the dining hall. At 12:05 p.m., the Dean of Students announced that the ceremony would continue, without music, at 12:30. It didn’t start for another hour after that.
“I APOLOGIZE FOR THE WAIT,” a voice boomed from the speakers. With that, Dean Curtis began to read the names in no particular order.
“Rivers, Meadow. Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering, Cum Laude.” With a start, Meadow weaves through her classmates, ducking her head when she trips over another student. As she walks up to the podium, she notices her younger sister in the group of people closest to the front, standing in between her parents. Please don’t ruin this day with arguing, she tries to signal to her parents with her eyes. She looks up at the dean, who is holding her diploma in her hand with an expectant smile. Reaching out, the diploma lands in Meadow’s hands, and she glows as though lit from a thousand stars. She threw her hands into the air and spun around, infecting everyone with happiness.
“Washous, Daisy. Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Physics.” Daisy stopped whisper arguing with the guy next to her, stood up, and walked to the podium to receive her diploma. She stepped around several people and flashed a grin at Meadow, who was still glowing. As she walked, Daisy noticed that the Dean tapped her foot as she held out Daisy’s diploma. Feeling her face grow warm, Daisy snatched the diploma and rushed to stand next to Meadow. As Daisy searched the audience for her parents, she noticed several people she did not want to see but was unable to spot her parents. Her blush had gone by now, and she wondered why she even cared if they were there. It was a new feeling.
“Zatara, Bronwyn. Bachelor’s Degree in Government.” Bronwyn stood up, slightly shaking, and stumbled over her fellow classmates in her rush to get her diploma. Please don’t focus on me for long, she thought. She clutched her diploma to her chest and quickly walked to the side where her friends waited.
After about ten other people, a little girl in the audience heard a name that jerked her head up. “Moore, Joseph “Joey”. Bachelor’s Degree in Government. A round of applause for Joseph, who is in our Joint Degree Program for Law and Government!” Hayley, the little girl, stood up and her grandmother’s lap. “WOOHOO! GO DAD!” Joseph waved at her and walked over to the side. He turned around and pulled a funny face before he clasped his hands behind his back and smiled sheepishly at the Dean. “Ahem.”
Thirty minutes went by, and one by one, the students became graduates.
“McAllister, Ziva. Bachelor’s Degree in English.” Ziva stood up with a shriek of joy and spun around. Dancing her way up to the podium, she smiled to her classmates and friends who had already graduated. She grabbed her diploma and walked over to stand next to her friends. I wonder what the characters in my latest novel would think about this, she pondered.
“Reyes, Jenylyn. Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Summa Cum Laude.” Jenylyn blew a strand of hair out of her face, and walked to the podium, slightly tense. After accepting the diploma, she looked it over and a small smile peeked out from behind her resting angry face before she walked to the side and stood next to Ziva, Bronwyn, and Daisy. I guess I’m finally the perfect daughter, Jenylyn thought. I wonder if they even noticed me. Joey soon joined their gathering as they waited for their other friends, and they all whispered congratulations.
“Smith, Hera. Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology, Cum Laude.” Hera slowly stood up and made it to the podium without having to talk to anyone. She lifted her head up. “Uh, thank you?” Hera said, her voice rising at the end. Blooms of red appeared on her cheeks, and she ducked her head as she made a run for the side…without her diploma. She trudged back over to the podium, snatched her diploma, and ran for her friends. She hid behind the willowy Ziva. I’ll never live this down, she thought.
It happened in a sort of slow motion, but Hayley saw it. A woman flashed into the crowd of students behind her father’s friends, dressed in a strange garb, grinned, and beamed right back out. Was that real? She thought. Am I cuckoo? Cuckoo for coconuts? Hayley stifled a giggle before looking curiously at her father.
The students slowly got their diplomas, and the crowds grew more restless.
“Dempsey, Faye. Bachelor’s Degree in Theater, Dance, and Media.” Faye, unencumbered by her graduation gown, leapt up. After pausing to compose herself, she sauntered to the podium and received her diploma. Letting loose, she spun around in a circle and ran straight into her friends’ arms.
“Astrose, Tyler “Ty.” Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Physics.” Ty rolled his eyes before standing up and wandering to the podium and taking his diploma. The sooner I get out of here, the better it is for everyone, Ty thought. He walked to the side and hid between his friends, turning to Bronwyn. “I think you’re the only one who understands what I’m feeling right now,” he whispered. He had seen how quickly she got away from the focus of everyone. “Yeah,” she said.
“Valentine, Philip. Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Media.” Philip stood up, steadied himself, and walked to the podium, barely containing his excitement. He reached out for his diploma and gently held it in awe, but he noticed all the students who impatiently searched the audience. At least they’re here, Philip thought, his buoyant mood turning sour. At least their family members can show up, he thought. He knew his sister was somewhere in the audience, but he wasn’t entirely sure where and he figured he would find her later.
“Ten, Ace. Bachelor’s Degree in History.” Ace stood up with a harrumph and t r u d g e d over to the podium. He grabbed his diploma and stalked to the side, acting as though his stomach wasn’t acting like a Mexican jumping bean filled with butterflies. Ace crossed his arms and walked to the back of his group of friends. Mr. Calm and Collected, he repeated to himself. Mr. Calm. And. Collected. Mr. Calm ad Collected only lasted about 5 seconds before Ace gave in and embraced his friends.
Finally, the last person to graduate came along. “Zanders, Coda. Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology, Summa Cum Laude.” Cody brushed his hair out of his face as he walked over to the podium. “Uh… thank, I mean, Thanks? Thank you?” Coda stumbled over his words, not exactly sure what to say. He ducked his head when he heard snickers from the audience and parents shushing their restless kids. “You can take your diploma now,” the dean said with a kindly smile. “Right,” he said. Coda took the diploma apprehensively, as though it was about to explode. When it didn’t, his body relaxed, and he walked over to the side, quite embarrassed. He pushed his glasses up his nose and hid by Bronwyn and Ty. “Hi,” he whispered.
“Well, that concludes our ceremony. A round of applause for the Harvard Class of 2018!”
- Faye Dempsey - @annaclaire721
- Joseph Moore - @CrazyCaliope
- Philip Valentine - @Tellyg47
- Hera Smith – @Littlefeets
- Ziva Mcallister- @Art3Miss
- Bronwyn Zatara - @ThatRandomPerson
- Meadow Rivers - @riahh30
- Daisy Washous - @EVL.Daisy
- Jenylyn Reyes - @dramaqueen.episode
- Ty Astrose - @C_ssie
- Ace Ten - @KBaldi93
- Coda Zanders - @fal.renet1398
More coming soon!