again with the perfection

{excerpt: the great ones and the general, chapter three}

Graduation Day came.

Mom fluttered all over the house, ironing shirts and everything else under the sun--she would've ironed my socks if I'd asked, I imagined. Shiloh, ever the apathetic rebel, rolled her eyes to everything and lounged on the couch, texting her new boy friend or guy friend or whatever excuse she was giving these days. Dad...well, Dad stayed in his office until the very last possible second. Lucky man.

I stood in the middle of the kitchen, arms stretched wide as mom fussed over me. She looked nice--all emerald fabric and pearl earrings--and I noticed that she'd coordinated my tie to her dress. Great. That was as embarrassing as if my mom was my date to prom or something. Colt would get a kick out of that.

I hadn't talked to him in almost a week. Avoiding Colt was exhausting, because I couldn't stay hidden like a recluse in my room. Closed doors didn't bother him, not in my house. So I'd spent most of my week in the library, hiding in the study rooms with my books and last minute homework. And when the librarians started getting worried about the pale kid stuck in the back rooms, I moved to the park, which was a mistake. Couples on lovey-dovey, smoochy dates walked by my homework station. Kids shouted, parents yelled. It was chaos. Seeing Colt again and simply facing the music started to have more appeal as the days got longer. And today, on our graduation day, there was no way I was going to miss him. And I almost felt grateful for that.

Mom smoothed out my suit lapels and looked up at me. When around my mother, I felt tall for once in my life. Her eyes shimmered with tears. "I'm so proud of you," she said thickly, gently yanking on my tie. "After all's been hard, hasn't it?"

I shrugged.

"But you still did it. I'm proud of you--and Colton too, of course. He's had it as hard as you have, honestly."

I raised an eyebrow at that.

She squeezed my forearm and gave me another wobbly smile. "Jon would be proud of you, you know?"

"Really." The word wasn't a question; instead, it was a brittle, disbelieving statement. My fingernails buried themselves in my palm's tender flesh. Stop, Mom. Don't make this day worse than it already needs to be. Jon, who hated school, who wiggled in his desk until the teacher lost their patience, who couldn't care less about 4.0s and grades, would never have been proud of me. He'd think this all a joke. 'Come on, Matty, you had a perfectly good excuse to skip school for...I dunno, the rest of high school? Why didn't you take it? Now all you've got is a lousy piece of paper and a head stuffed full of society. What good is that?'

She drew back a step, a question on her face. "Matty..."

"Please don't call me that."

She sighed, then amended, "Matt...are you okay?"

I snorted--really, mother? That's all you've got? A generic question that screams for a generic answer? "Of course," I retorted, "why wouldn't I be?"

It was the same exact same words I always said--just like the one hundred other times I'd been asked that question in the past six months.

She squeezed my arm again. "Just checking. I want this day to be perfect for you, is all."

Perfect. Which meant that she just wanted to piece everything together momentarily, just so the outsiders could think that normality had come back to our home. Right.



  1. This is awesome! It has it's funny parts, like with his mom coordinate her dress and his tie. But it's heart-rending sad too. Well written. :)

  2. Hi Ely! I just discovered your blog through Beth at Adventures of an Elven Princess (how I discover most new blogs), and am really enjoying it! I love the photos you have as your header!!!! I am hugely into maps, and piano, and artistic photography :) So I just read this post, and WOW! You are a really great writer! Now I want to read more... Have you ever had any of your writing published before? Anyway, just thought I'd say "hi"! Feel free to check out my blog, Amber on the Mountain at

    1. welcome!! glad you like it here--I love it that you do!! Thank you so much for following and commenting--it made my day.

      No, I haven't had any of my writing other than book reviews published before. It's a goal, though. :)

      I definitely will check out your blog when I have the time! Once again, thanks! :)


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