The seniors, with their water based paints on the sides of their cars, and on the back windows and trunks. "Class of 2008!!!" , "Look Out!", "Free, Free At Last!!!". The tassels in school colors hanging from the windows. The optimism, the naivite, the excitement. The uncompromising expectations. The sense of stepping off a cliff into the unknown and the urgency of youth.
Graduation week is here. I stood before a group of graduates last night, delivering a speech that will be forgotten this morning, hoping instead to impress memories with tone and excited gestures. The students were enthusiastic, trying to savor a fleeting moment, trying to understand the signficance of this moment of passage, if it possessed any at all.
As I spoke, I studied the faces of the adults in the audience. The parents. The grandparents. The aunts and uncles. Their expressions were more telling. Satisfaction. Pride. Envy. Regret. Wistful thoughts about people who exist in memory only, the world having morphed them into something else, into someone unrecognizable.
"Stewart," someone said, as I moved through the guests, meeting relatives and friends. "Will you remember me?"
I paused...and at the same time, lied and told the truth.