graduation | love story IX

Is this your first foray into the epic tale that is drew and tasha’s love story? Check out the first nine installments, then continue onward. Or, if you don’t want to read nine blog posts, here are the highlights:

girl and boy go to photo school.
girl notices boy in hall, thinks he’s cute.
boy and girl talk, then forget about each other.
boy and girl meet again at BBQ. talk, laugh, watch Garden State.
boy misses fairytale chance to kiss girl,
gets drunk and kisses her by mistake instead.
boy falls off bridge, girl bakes him brownies.
boy and girl get lost together.
boy and girl have epic fight over McDonalds.
boy and girl move in together.
girl gets tattoo and busts foot open in stairwell.
boy heroically takes girl to hospital.

Okay, now you’re caught up. We move onward.

At some point during my long phase of childhood poetic brilliance (oh, to be so uninhibited yet today), I wrote a little number describing what my world would be like if everything were reversed. For instance, what would happen if the sky were green and the grass were blue? What if up was down, if backward was forward? What if… you get the point.

There are times that I have wondered what would have happened if Drew and I had never met in that school hallway. What if I had decided (like on so many other nights) not to go to the barbeque where we first got to know each other? What if I had decided not to watch Garden State at his house, not to skip school with him?

What if Drew had gone to Hallmark in 2008, like he had originally planned?

To me, imagining my life without Drew is something akin to imagining the world spinning backward. Everything would be a little off, nothing would feel quite right, and let’s face it, my life and my stories would be 83% less interesting. In fact, at this moment, I probably wouldn’t be gracefully sprawled out on my couch, documenting a love story. Maybe I’d be writing a terribly heart-wrenching poem about the romance of being alone. What if.

Life seeks balance. Drew came along and flipped my world upside down (or was it right side up?). Without him… well, I no longer imagine life without him, because it just isn’t an option.

Meanwhile, back at Hallmark…

Graduation day dawned bright, beautiful, and swelteringly hot. Drew and I awoke, popped some allergy meds (summer in Massachusetts feels a lot like someone constantly stuffing dandelions up your nose) and prepared for the day.

At some point, I recall trying to stuff my still swollen foot into a pair of heels, but as I wanted my graduation tears to be induced by emotion, and not excruciating pain, I decided to don a pair of five dollar flip flops instead. Super classy.

Not only was today graduation day, it was meet the parents day for Drew. My mom? She’s easy to please. She looks straight into people’s souls. Pure of heart? You’re all set.

My dad? Not so easy to please. This is the guy who told me (after sustaining a considerably broken heart many years back) that he’d rather me tattoo a giant orc on my neck than ever get my heart broken again. Let’s just say he’s a discerning judge of character. Spoiler alert: he’s pretty fond of his son-in-law.

I had met Drew’s parents the previous evening. As I’m pretty sure I was delirious from exhaustion and allergies, I don’t remember much of it other than that it was pleasant and uneventful. Good for us, but not much fodder for the dramatic element of our love story.

So, we headed out to our favourite spot, the Shady Glen, for breakfast with my parents. Four quality diner meals later, we arrived at graduation. The sun was already high, poised and ready to cause as much mischief as possible.

The ceremony commenced, we walked, we sat, we listened, we clapped, we cheered, we graduated. We had the privilege of listening to an amazing guest speaker, Douglas Kirkland. He was, and still is an incredible photographer, and an even more incredible human being. I will never forget the sight of him dancing around on stage, shaking his fists in the air, and shouting enthusiastic encouragement and advice from his 70 plus years of life experience. Our dearest instructor, Michael Zide, told us a story about the velociraptors in his driveway (none of us had any idea what he was talking about, but we loved him that much more for it). Greg Heisler, our adored artist-in-residence dispensed his last bits of hilarious, heartfelt, invaluable advice.

Others talked, many promenaded, but to this day, all I really remember is the sunburn.

And maybe, just maybe, the wonderful feeling that, even if for just one moment, everything was right with the world.

© Jenn Bakos 2010

© Jenn Bakos 2010