“I’ll keep wondering, and wondering, and wondering, and wondering, when will my life begin?” –Rapunzel (Tangled)
I knew I was late waking up but I couldn’t stop this text conversation I was having.
“Hurry up, Nick. We’re gonna be late!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming. Hold your horses there, Woody.”
I giggled at my own joke, feeling my phone vibrate.
I opened my phone and grinned wider before typing out the text, I was gonna get lucky tonight. I couldn’t wait. It would be perfect after today’s festivities.
I mean, it wasn’t every day you graduated from college. I was graduating with my degree in animation, minoring in graphic design. Not bad for 4 years. I look at my 22 year old self in the mirror, adjust my glasses and fix my mop of hair, and I’m good to go.
“A Mickey tie? Guess some things don’t change.” Brian grinned from the doorway. I grabbed my cap and gown, feeling my phone vibrating again.
“Nobody’s gonna see it, it’ll be under my gown.” I stated. Brian looked over my shoulder at my phone and I nudged him away.
“Dude, she won’t leave you alone, will she?” he chuckled.
“I don’t know what it was. The sex….the alcohol or the waffles, but she can’t resist the Carter charm. I had to grow into it someday.” I replied cheekily. Brian rolled his eyes at me and we headed to the cars parked near our dorm.
“Carter charm? Please.” he scoffed.
“Yuck it up…..by the way, I’m driving.” I said, holding up the keys. Mine was a black Ford with a Mickey decal in the window, along with the matching seat covers and floor mats.
Do you expect anything less from me?
“Hakuna matata, what a wonderful phrase….”
My phone was ringing, and it was Kevin. Still being a worry wart like he always was. Ever since I started driving he got more parent like.
It sure took him long enough. He sometimes forgets to be a parent.
“I’m on my way. We’re not that late.” I said into the receiver before hanging up.
A lot of things have changed in the past few years. Brian is graduating too…he was supposed to graduate last year, but he changed majors to teaching. He’s looking for a job, but he wants to teach high school or middle school. Far cry from farming, but he still has Bella on his wall.
In the words of Brian himself, some things don’t change. As for me, I got glasses last year. It’s been hard to adjust but I needed them for driving….guess there was a reason for Thumper, sometimes I have trouble seeing. Kevin still brings that up whenever I take out the car. Hence my “I brake for animals” bumper sticker.
I’m not kidding.
Brian and I got there just in time to say hello. I didn’t have anyone but Kevin….but Jackie and Harold had shown up.
“Hi, Nick.” Harold said, smiling at me. Brian didn’t make eye contact but I nudged him. He hadn’t been back to Kentucky like he’d said…..but he was talking to his parents at least. They took his career decision well.
“Hi, Mr. Littrell.” I replied. We stood there in silence and he finally stepped towards me.
“Call me Harold.” he said, holding out his hand for me to shake. I was surprised but I took it. It was like being accepted into Brian’s family, and I felt great. I nodded and watched Brian slowly walk over to his mother. They just looked at each other and he threw his arms around her, the two of them crying.
“My baby is all grown up…” she whispered. I could have sworn I felt my mother saying the same thing….I felt my eyes tearing. I wondered for a moment if they were watching. Jackie also gave me a small hug and patted me on the back.
“Thank you, Nick. Thank you for bringing us back together.” she said softly into my ear.
“Brian needed you, he just didn’t realize how much.” I said. We parted and she went back to Brian, leaving me to my thoughts.
Kevin walked up next to me as I was gazing off into space.
“You all right?” he asked. I felt a slight chill on my neck….it was strange because there was definitely no wind that day.
“Just thinking.” I smiled.
“They can see you….you know. You’ve grown up a lot since everything happened, Nick. Your parents are watching.” Kevin told me. Brian was hugging his step dad and we were being waved to our seats onstage.
“You think so?”
“I know so. You’re gonna be just fine, kid.” Kevin smiled.
I paused, looking at him and still feeling that lump in my throat…I knew I was ready. Although I was shaky and sweaty….my heart was going a mile a minute, I was ready to graduate.
“Trust me. Now go before all the good diplomas are taken.” he winked.
I grinned at him and went to my seat, really feeling like my life was about to begin.