I have graduated. I did it. I made the big push and now it’s all over. I received my diploma and I walked with the other graduates. I had my graduation party. It’s done. Goodbye to the class of 2013. Goodbye to my high school. This has been a love story that you wouldn’t put down in books. People want to hear about a happy ending. Reunions. Acceptance.
This is a story of struggle. And of finally being able to move on. And there isn’t nostalgia or last minute ‘I love you’s’ or anything. It’s just, simply, over. I wish there were more love stories like this. The ones where it was almost something great and then it wasn’t. The ones you would have cried over, but you couldn’t. Realistic love stories. Where the last kiss isn’t one of love but one of goodbye.
I guess we don’t have love stories like this because they hit us too deeply in the wrong spots. Because we were always the kids that were disappointed but still filled with wonder and still ready to move on. But we never wanted to accept them. We wanted to believe that our love stories ended with a kiss or a marriage proposal. We thought that we would feel whole without ever needed to actually find ourselves. Whatever that means.
I don’t think we do ‘find ourselves’ and I don’t think that there is any love story to define life. Life IS your love story. Moving on is just another chapter. Thinking of it in a way that makes sense, graduating high school isn’t this gigantic nostalgic moment that will help to define your entire life. It is a kiss from someone you’re not sure you ever loved. Someone that helped you grow while setting you back at the same time. And when it all boils down to nothing, it was just a kiss.
The kind of kiss a drunk teenager gives you at three in the morning, telling you that they love you but not knowing what love means. The kind of kiss you had in the hallway of your school after prom, when the boy smelled really good but tasted like emptiness. The kind of kiss where you had been hoping against hope that it would be your last first kiss, but it just ended up being your first last kiss instead.
And it hurts a bit. And it means a lot by meaning absolutely nothing. We have internalized this kiss and let it grow inside of us, and it has still managed to make us feel nothing but regret and maybe acceptance. We are done with this kiss. Some of us will think about it often, time clouding the memories to make them taste so much sweeter than they did. Some of us will forget about the kiss, thinking it didn’t mean all that much anyway.
And all of us were that drunk teenager, kissing someone we didn’t love because we thought we needed to. We thought we weren’t fulfilled without that kiss. But I know better. A kiss is just a kiss and high school is just a kiss.
I’m glad that the taste is fading from my lips.