We had planned it all out since freshman year. We’d all picked the song that would play through our pictures before Drew’s mom handed us our diplomas. That song changed a million times between freshman and sophomore year, but then Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” album was released. I played “Long Live” for everyone in October, a month before we would all sit in a room and tear each other apart.
But me, you, and Drew? We stuck it out after the dust settled.
Which I guess is why it came as such a surprise when I sat you both down and told you I was leaving.
Drew argued for months. We’d be carrying on a casual conversation about a new band he’d found, and then he’d ask, “So, why aren’t you graduating with us?” before he could even finish his original story. He promised that we would sing together, said it would be perfect, and I just promised to be in the crowd.
But when I told you, I knew in the bottom of my heart that I would’ve ordered a hunter green robe in my size if you had so much as asked me to stay.
“Good,” you said.
I told you I was leaving, and you said, “Good.”
Okay, so I had known it was going to be a fifty-fifty chance you’d be apathetic and a fifty-fifty chance you would react the way Drew had… But happy I wouldn’t be tossing my cap in the air with you?
“I don’t get why you would even want to graduate here.”
You looked at me from across my counter, and let me tell you that I’d never met another person until that point who had believed in me and that my heart was better than the things I’d been settling for.
You were angry. You stood on that stage, and you were so angry. You couldn’t even look at your parents. The camera flashed, and you didn’t even smile. And I remember thinking the whole time that I just wanted to run up on stage and shake you, tell you I was proud.
But then you were walking down the aisle with your parents; your dad saw me beaming at you, and squeezed my shoulder when he passed; you saw me, threw me a wink, and just like that, you were happy. So happy.
I followed you out and wrapped my arms around your neck, and we breathed out a heavy, “We did it.”
Change your stars
Play the hand you’re dealt
I’m not going to give you that advice. Because I’ve seen life trap people; I’ve watched life deal a hand to someone before they even sat down at the table.
And you? You had a beautiful hand. But I also know that, if life was a game of black jack, you only needed one more card for a perfect “21,” but someone had the deck of cards fixed, and you lost everything.
So no, I won’t tell you to just try and play the hand you’ve been dealt.
I just think I know what the saying means now:
Your cards were already waiting for you when you sat down at the table, but God, you could’ve made the best out of the chips you won.
And I guess that’s how you play this game of life. You don’t get the cards you want cause you don’t get a say in what cards you’re dealt. But you do have a say in how you play the game and what you do when you walk away with your winnings.
All I know is, you changed our stars, and I looked at the cards you dealt me and knew I had no choice but to fold