Congratulations, Helana.

Syd and I are late to your graduation. It started poring when we left the house. Conveniently, it stopped when we found a parking garage.

Maddy is waiting anxiously with our tickets when we final got to bag check. I think we got there while the masters degrees were being handed out. I don’t know because we missed the introduction.

I woke up this morning at 1:20pm, so maybe morning isn’t the right word. I was getting ready putting on my makeup and looked up at my “Seasons” pastel above my mirror. Your bright white face that I framed with ice, for Winter, stared back at me. You looked fierce. You in that picture are a strong glacier woman, more than you are an ice queen. If I were to pastel your actual nature, it would be the exact opposite.

There would be light tones of Peach because you’re sweet. Dark shades of Violet because you have depth. Blues would seep the colors together, showing that you are soft but you are strong.

Some of these graduates have people cheering and clapping for them. Most of them. I feel sad for those who don’t. They are still getting a masters degree, so exactly how bad can I feel for them? Syd just said that the cape things make everyone look like ducks. I hope you come out looking like a duck.

I hope it doesn’t take long to make it to the writing majors. Still, I have some time to kill.

You always say that i’m the intimidating one. I’m the boy in our fake lesbian relationships. I’m scary to talk to. My opinions and words cut like a sharp knives, but the strong one here is you. You cut like a butter knife through a warm stick of butter because, whether it is or not, you make everything look easy. You worked harder than anyone I know in this stadium to get here, and you love what you do. Maybe you’re not the one who loves their craft most. I hear it’s so satisfying to finish a painting and sell it, and i’m sure there is someone in here somewhere that is graduating confidently with a painting degree. Not many people get to say that.

Nobody is holding their applause until after all of the diplomas have been handed out in this next bit. You give directions, and everyone forgets immediately. That’s being a teacher.

I just saw Lubo graduate!!! You don’t know him. But I was really excited to see that happen. He is SO talented. he works with us a lot at 13 Bricks. His girlfriend Camille, also ridiculously talented, graduated too. I can’t wait to tell Kevin.


You’re down there somewhere aren’t you? Let me read your mind real quick.

“Omg. Okay. Grads go first; that makes sense. *makes quiet nervous conversation with strangers next to you* Fuck. I’m going to be waiting in line soon. I’m going to walk up on that stage, in front of a damn stadium, and get that diploma. It will be done before I know it. Shit. Shit shit shit. Okay. I can do this.”

Amirite? I hope not, but if this is the case, I hope you hear me right now in your ear.

Stop chattering. They’re just as nervous as you.

You’ll be waiting in line before you’re ready to, that’s true.

Don’t squander your moment. That spotlight is on you for a reason.

I wonder if you’ll even see anything; one of those moments where you walk, but don’t remember getting to the other side.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope you’re sitting there calmly. When you get in line I hope you’re proud of yourself to tears. I hope you’re at least tearing up about finally never having to do homework again. (I forgot that that is untrue, you still have two Summer classes. That sucks. No other way to say that.)

The moment Paula Wallace gives you that diploma, look her straight in the face. That woman tested your knowledge and your drive. She took so much of your money. She made you feel like you weren’t good enough sometimes. She gave you an unreliable bus system.

But don’t look at her like you’ve finally beaten her, even though you have. Look at her with gratitude. She is giving you a leather bound folder with a paper inside that says you can do anything. That was true before. But now you’ve got it in writing. Puny.

Oh shit. There’s a screen for close ups. didn’t even see that. I guess I haven’t looked up since I started writing.

I can’t wait to see your families’ faces when they call your name.

They wont say Hels, or Hel-pat. Or hells bells. Or HP, or Helanabelana or Lana. They won’t say Sermit or Paesh or Marple.

They’re going to say they will say Helena Patrice DeRossett ( and they will hopefully say your last name right). The grown up. With a college degree and a head full of stories. Equipt with having had the most wonderful professors. You’re ready, whether you believe you are or not.

You’re moving in in July so I have no reason to elaborate on how much I will miss you, but I can give it the good old college try with memories that I miss (puny again. I’m just full of them today, aren’t I?) They went by so quickly.

(These have been edited for online sake, but you know what we did.)

I miss going to the hive with you or cuddling in your dorm. What horrible food. Sandwich shop was good though.

Do you remember when I had to sleep in your bed the night before we would all catch train and planes and go home? I was so drunk. Sorry for that, still.

I miss visiting our boys in the cemtary.

Do you remember Writing for the Arts? What a great way to start. We became friends right before that class. Isn’t it amazing that we ended up in it class together? You were afraid of me still, we’d only hung out like three times, once with out (for the sake of not naming anyone, blank). Remember when (no name) made fun of my headband and I laughed at her?

I miss having you edit my homework. You earned at least a fifth of my A’s. Add that to your diploma.

Do you remember when you wore a sock bun and bows in your hair? I remember. Despite how much I liked you, I was happy to see that phase go. Actually, try to forget that.

I miss the drama, girl! You always had more than me. Probably because of the boys. You’ve got the face of a doll and the booty of a goddess. You also have tiny feet. I don’t know why that is important. Maybe it adds to your princess charm.

Do you remember all of that great advise I gave you that you followed wisely? Yeah, me neither.

There were camping trips, visits to each others homes, bad grades good grades and a lot of… fun nights. There was Dyson and O’House. Remember my horrible roommate? There was Barnard. So much Barnard. Remember your horrible roommate?

(no name) just graduated. I didnt know he was graduating! I wonder if he will stay and still play music. I hope he doesn’t. I want a future for him.

I keep scaring everyone around us when I cheer for someone I know. Relax, y’all it’s a graduation.

I should probably try to listen for the catigoroes. Then when I hear someones name I cam know what I am yelling at the person for.

I just realized that you’ve got to take a snap shot with PW before you walk away with the diploma. She looks taller on stage. Is she wearing stilettos? I wish I could ask you.

I wish I could be you. I would do anything to be in your shoes. Not even just anything that I would secretly enjoy, like killing Trump and going to Guantanamo Bay forever (a small price). Your shoes are glass slippers today. They always were. They always will be.

Can you believe all of these end liners in coming up with? I’m good. College or not, I still got it! But I don’t have the piece of paper. You do.

What the Fuck. Does Magna Kum laude mean? Are you a Kum laude?

Is there like a Valedictorian? Is there one for each department? I wonder who it would be for your class. I think I probably missed it, whether it was before I got here or earlier this morning. Better have been a good speech. If only every writing major could have a chance to be Valedictorian. Then the speech would be inspiring and well written. Alas, unfortunately professor Williams exists.

PW does not have heels on. Forgot there was a screen in front of me. Brave.

You’re going to be all dolled up. Like a real graduate. Like in the movies. You’ll have the cap and the tassel, and the ridiculous duck cape.

Under grads!!!!! I will finish clapping and crying before I writer how it felt to watch you graduate. I am going to have to wait a while. You’re probably not even in line yet. Sounds like alphabetical order in both majors and names.

Damn, no one is wearing duck capes. Must be a Graduate thing.

Wait where is Wallace?? Oh, I guess the deans do it for undergraduates. Good luck getting a good photo with Beth towering over you. What a blessing for her- to be tall and also a wildly successful woman. She rocks it.

I’ll clap for the people I know in other majors in the other categories. You probably don’t know where we are sitting. You’re about to find out.


Be right back.

You did it. You really did it.

So did everyone else who graduated in the writing department, for whom I shamelessly cheered for, but you were the highlight.

Everyone is so proud of you. I am so proud of you. Liberal Arts was the last department. It’s time to go take pictures with you and for Syd and I to spend the night with your family. We will be singing and harmonizing with your sisters and you, making sweet baby angel princess songs out of stupid pop songs and show tunes. There will be cheese and fruit. There will be memories. What a milestone.

Wow, it’s a bitch to get out of this place.

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