I'd been a failure my whole life. Eight years ago, my father got in a car accident because I'd distracted him. It was a car trip to the movies, a special trip that Dad had just taken me on. On the way home, we drove onto a bridge, and hit a bump in the road. I spilled my drink, and started crying loudly, so dad glanced back to see what was wrong. When he turned his attention from the road, the car in front of him had to stop abruptly. Dad didn't have time to stop, and hit him full-on. My dad didn't make it, but I escaped with just one scar on my arm.
After that, the family dynamic was different. My sister blamed me for it, and regarded me like I deserved to be in a dungeon--if she acknowledged me at all. Then, a couple years ago, my sister ran away. She just got up one day and left. No one has heard from her since. Since then, I've felt like nothing I do can ever make a difference. I blame myself for our father's death too. I feel like my whole life is just a disaster. So, instead of setting up life goals, I just sat tight through high school. This past year, however, Jane's gotten me to come out of my shell a little. I help where I'm needed, and offer help to boost others to the top, but I can't help myself. I don't want to set myself up for failure.
"Mickey, get over here, we need some help with this!" I snap back to reality as I hear someone else call me.
Both Jane and I glance across the stage, to see someone frantically picking up diploma cases that had fallen on the ground.
"That's my cue." I tell Jane, then I run over to help them.
Fifteen minutes later, I hear the song "Pomp and Circumstance" finally coming to a close, and am glad that I'm still backstage. If I was walking past, I know that people would be watching me. I shudder. I hate being watched. Somehow, I was put in charge of manning the curtain, and I currently stand in front of the ropes that control them. Navigating the ropes and switches is like navigating a maze, but one whose end determines eternal embarrassment, or a job well done.
I nod and yank the furthest left-hand rope. The curtain slowly climbs up to the rafters, and the principal is revealed to the audience.
"Hello, and congratulations to the 2019 graduating class!" The principal always gives informal speeches. I don't think he really understands the formality of this event. He opens his arms and his face spreads into a wide grin. "Now, I'm truly sad to see this class go. You guys were very close to me this year with the budget cuts and all the mess going around the school. You guys helped raise money, even gave some of your pocket money and or allowance to keep the school running."
The girl who put me in charge of the right side of the curtain gives me a 'thumbs-up' and a smile as she walks up to me.
"Thanks so much for doing that! Man, am I glad you interned at the Community Theater last semester!"
I nod, wave, and walk toward the exit. Yep, I interned pretty much everywhere trying to find my purpose.. As I walk backstage to the other side of the stage, I hear a 'clunk'. I notice the left side of the curtain still hangs, covering half of the faculty. There's a girl pulling frantically on every rope, trying to find the right one. I go to her side of the tangle of old ropes, and slowly pull one, opening the other half of the curtain. She sighs in relief, and nods her thanks. Clearly, she's new. I sit down in a chair, and decide to wait a moment longer before heading to the other side of the stage. They may need my help again. I lean back and close my eyes, listening to the principal's speech.
"…and thus I can truly say I'm genuinely proud of this year's graduates!" Roaring applause comes from all sides of the gym. I open my eyes and see the back of the school president. I chose a good spot. It was angled so that I could see the speaker, but the congregated crowd couldn't see me. When the applause finally dies down, I realize that our guest speaker has taken the place of the president.I sat up straighter, so I could get a better view of her face. I recognized the woman from somewhere, but I can't remember where…
Then it hit me. My science lab internship! This woman was the scientist who mentored us. Dr....Moira? Moira Jameson? No. It was Dr. Moira Jefferson. I remember she was really open, and into getting kids interested in science, and things kids can base a career off of. It makes sense that she'd be here to wish us off. Dr. Moira looks much different here than she did in the lab. In the lab, she almost always had on a giant lab coat, green gloves that reached her elbows, and safety glasses that looked like scuba diving goggles. Her hair was generally put up into a bun so as not to accidentally brush any of the chemicals. She had all us girls do the same, to keep their hair safe. Here, her straight copper red hair is down, gathered around her shoulders, and she has no goggles whatsoever.
She opens her mouth to speak. I lean over a little, to see if I could get a better look at her. Even as the syllables form, she is stopped. A loud sound rings out through the gym. Then another quickly after it. Gunshots. My heart stops as I see Dr. Moira stagger back.
Part three coming soon!