It's not the beginning nor is it the end ... it's just a day where we abandon all sanity to celebrate the end of homework and the start of theses.

-Anonymous

T'was the very day of our graduation, yet there was a nerve-wrecking impasse in my subconscious. He was a great distance from me, with his classmates in the last rows of the seating arrangements. The white toga bearing our school seal contrasted with the odd pale skin of his; his hair was thick and unruly as ever, and as black as coal; yet, even now, his eyes mesmerized me the most (despite being a great distance apart)—the depth of which they held made him the most enticing man I have ever met. He was more manly now than the last time we met "face-to-face" but no matter how much he had changed over the years, he would always be the pale, plump little boy I first ... fell in love with.

How I envied those beside him, wanting now more than ever to touch his hand, to gaze deep into his eyes, to hear his teasing voice, and to be enthralled once more by his inane chatter. I had never noticed how much he meant to me, how much I had valued his presence, how many times I had been lost in my own world whenever I heard or read his name, how so little of his movements kept me frozen, or how—just by a mere syllable—I reminisced everyday his "hello"s and his "how are you?"s.

No matter how many times he hurt me (intentionally or unintentionally, I don't know), no matter how many times I tried to get away from it all—I still came running back to him and his incredible comfort. No matter how many times he stabbed me, avoided me, how many times he taunted me—I kept waving aside the pain on which they inflicted on me. How many times had he tried to make me cry? Just how many times I actually did break down to tears and "hate" him? How many years had I deluded myself into thinking that I loathed him?—but, well, it ended just the same: I loved him so damnably, no matter what.

And here we are on the best day of our childhood lives, beaming as brightly as the gym's lights...I knew that we were both happy, who wouldn't be? We were both part of the "spotlight", ending a chapter in our lives—and just starting to begin writing another. But should it have to be this way? Should we really have to rip apart the past friendship we had? Should we really have to let go? But it hurt so much...wasn't this injustice? Yes, I was truly glad that we were graduating...but I wasn't graduating from my obstacles—I was just damn starting it.

My memories were just as fresh and sharp like they were new, like my life was flashing before me (ironically, since I was at the moment dying of nerves). And thinking about them, they seemed to revolve around his so nauseatingly much that his were as though they were happening right in front of me. The day we first met, that day when a classmate hurt me and I was forced to stay where he was...those days when we competed, unfair and cheating in whatever bet we do...the days—and in plural, mind you—when our teacher grew exasperated and reprimanded us for talking during her lecture...that day when he first grew suspicious of the affection I had for him...the facetious occurrence when I chased him all around the school because he stole my bag...the painful day we never spoke to each other (the very beginning of our dispute)...and, to make it short, the four years that felt like four centuries that our tongues spoke spite and hate, the millennia where our hearts were at war...

I didn't want to cry—not now, not here in my graduation day—not here, where the reason for my unshed tears are—not today, when I am expected to smile and look happy—and, no, certainly not this hour when he can see me so weak and defenseless—

And before I knew it, it was time for us to sing our graduation song:

"This special time, this special place

Is brightened by your special face..."

Just minutes ago, he had went up on stage just before we sang, to receive his awards. I had wanted—and it caused me every resistance I had—to go up to him and congratulate him personally for once again (as expected) being superfluously successful. There was no word strong enough to describe the feeling I had, and yet all I could think of for the time being was that I was happy for him...happy that he was only one step ahead of me, to fulfill his wildest dreams...

"Although we go our separate ways,

We'll share he mem'ry of this day..."

Yes, I was certain, I would never, EVER forget this day...this day when my emotions were—for the first time in my entire being—indescribable. The reason for my happiness was here...the most enticing creature I have ever had the luck to meet and, though unbelievably, fall in love with...he was here, brightening my day as always...

"May you always walk in sunshine,

Slumber warm when night winds blow...

May you always live with laughter for a smile becomes you so..."

What I wanted in life—setting aside the material desires—was for him to be happy, because if he was then I would be too...I was, I admit, a very selfish girl, wanting so many things to complete my happiness...but I realized that what made him sad made me just as morose...and so then, if he were to fall into the depths of hell, heaven would not be my cure...maybe I was being so stupid—being such a saintly martyr—but, oh, even to me it made no sense...no logic at all...no rationality...

"May good fortune find your doorway,

May the blue bird sing your song..."

Other than this success he's having, all I want for him is to have more of them...for him. Ironic, isn't it? Unselfishness coming from such a selfish being...

"May no trouble travel your way,

May no worry stay too long..."

I hope that when the time comes for our paths to cross again, he may still be happy and carefree...the worry of him being harmed—it's as if I'm willing to risk everything just to make him grin...

I could never forget that, ironically, it's what he did for me...

"May your heartaches be forgotten,

May no tears be spilled..."

During this day of our "beginning and ending", I refuse to see tears—coming from me or any of my friends...because I fear that once the crying starts, I may never stop...

"May old acquaintance be remembered,

And your cup of kindness filled...

May you find someone to love as much as I love you..."

There it was again, the unselfish love, the acceptance for unrequited love...yet I feared that he will forget me...no, he would never—I was sure of that...all I hoped, because I know that he will never love me the same way I do, is that one day he'll come to find the right person for his heart...

The ceremony ended, time for my doom—I was saying my last words of farewell to my beloved friends...I was keeping an eye of for "Someone"...ah, He was with his friends, biding goodbyes...

"Do the right thing," someone whispered in my ear; I didn't look to see who, because I was weaving through the crowd—at the same time gathering every spoon of courage I had...

"Hello," I managed to say, in front of his friends. They smiled and smirked, though his expression was, oddly enough, polite. "May I have this moment?" I asked to one of them, concealing my impatience.

Smiling roguishly, they left.

"Hi," I squeaked, biting my lip. Bloody hell, I had never, ever felt so nervous in my life!

"Hello, Kat," he said, catching me off guard—the blasted nickname was long forgotten; it was ironic that, since he started the name, he'd be the one to end it on this very day. "What brings you to this side of the continent?" he spoke so casually and so like his teasing self that I grew suspicious whether he was fooling me or not at once.

"I'm just—um—" I stammered—great, way to sound like an idiot, Kathleen, you moron!

"Here to bid me farewell?" he smiled, the childish grin so similarly like mine. "I expected you would."

"Really?" I couldn't help but say—or rather, demand. He was piquing me. The arrogant, conceited prat. ...why is he suddenly so bigheaded, for heaven's sake?

"I know you too much," he said smugly. Damn smugness.

This piqued me even more, "No, you don't."

"Oh yes, I do." The flare of a challenge from his "old friend" made him laugh. "More than you know, Kat Kat."

"Prove it, old timer." I crossed my arms, scowled, and huffed.

"Your favorite colors are yellow, green, and royal-blue (royal-blue and not just any blue); your greatest dream—obviously—is to become an author of a best-selling novel, but if possible you'd want to be a teacher someday too; your biggest peeve is not being able to keep your mouth shut when someone demands you an answer; you say you hate love songs, but all you want in the world is to listen to them; you hate the fact of growing up, so you idolized Peter Pan who hates growing up the same as you do; and you once had a huge crush on your karate-do instructor; and—"

"Oh God, enough already!" I groaned. How the bloody hell had he managed to know so much?!

"Just one more, please," without waiting for a reply, launched again, "you like chicken and pasta, so that's your favorite combination. Need I say more?"

I scowled. "Please, no."

"Okay...and just to let you know—because I doubt that you notice it yourself—all you want, my love, is a hug, right?"

I stared at him, vexed. "What?"

"You want a hug," he repeated matter-of-factly.

"I do not!" I lied fiercely. Well, it's better than kisses, right?

"You do," he said calmly. Odd...we're sounding like the "old friends" we were back in first-grade.

"Don't be so conceited! You don't know—"

"Haven't I just proved to you that I know more than you do—?"

And then, because maybe I was just so stupid and desperate, and because tears started to fall, that I flung myself around him, hiding my tear-streaked face on his shoulder. To my intense relief, he didn't pull away; he patted my shoulder comfortingly—like the older brother I've always wanted.

I continued to cry, drenching his toga with salty tears; I just couldn't stop myself. Then several minutes later, another joined our group and by the sound of their voices I realized it was Danie, Queenie, Ethel, Carylle, Laura, Franzelle—and soon pretty much everyone.

"Bye, bye," I managed to say in between sobs and hugs from everyone.

This day was not an ending—but a beginning. Period; not a dot, dot, dot. But period. I couldn't say anything, just for now. But soon—hopefully—I would be able to say more. Because, my friends, beneath the words were..."Thank you."