"Congratulations Love! We finally made it!" said Keiko.
"Never imagined college life without you Keiko. I'll see you in the center." I replied.
I met Keiko on my first year in college and from that moment on we became inseparable. She is my only college best friend and if it wasn't for her, life in college would be so boring.
We took pictures together until someone bumped into us. It was Benjie together with Jackie. Benji is a family friend and we've been known each other since we were kids. Jackie on the other hand, is the daughter of the owner of JPC, the biggest known corporation in our city. I really don't have a good memory of how we became friends but we just clicked and she stayed in the group.
Jackie's mom took a group photo of us and invited us for her daughter's graduation party in their house tonight.. We all agreed and we are all excited. All of the school's graduates are invited and even if I stayed in Will Chase University for five years, I am still not familiar with the other students. So I guess getting in touch with some students after graduation is a sure good thing.
"Hey guys, I'll see you later. Fam's got a celebration at home." I said.
"Alright Love, see you at Jackie's!" said Keiko and we all bid goodbye.
I left the auditorium and saw mom and dad in our university garden, Eden. Louise was also with them carrying his beloved camera all set with its tripod. Seems like they are all prepared to take another family picture again. We also did this in Louise's graduation 2 years ago. Louise is my older brother and he is now one of the top elite young photographers. He works at Studio Vain, a well-known company that grants such great opportunities for someone like Louise. Dad actually wanted him to take architecture. However, Louise was always passionate about photography so we just supported him with what he really likes.
I took mechanical engineering, too much for a woman but I still managed to get along with all those discrepancies. And after these celebrations of being a graduate, what awaits me is my five-month review for the board exam. I'm still happy tho, because I would still get to see Keiko in the center. It was really a good choice that we both enrolled in the same review center. We also rented a condo for the two of us because it's quite far from our place. So I guess I would also be expecting more adventures with Keiko even after college.
After taking our family picture, we went home. Dad offered a hand as I went off the car. I took his hand and dad slightly pulled me. I then felt a rush of presence behind me and got my eyes covered with cloth that smells like mom's favorite detergent. Dad then whispered to just keep a hold of his hand and follow him. Someone from my back is holding on to my shoulders. These hands, I feel so strange but still quite nostalgic.
I heard the door squeaked open and we all passed through it. The person on my back closed the door silently and then took off the tied cloth on my eyes. As I opened my eyes, I saw every family member gathered around me greeting me such a warm congratulations. I was really surprised because I thought it was just going to be a simple family lunch like it's only going to be mom and dad and me and louise. But almost each family member is present, grandma and grandpa, dad's parents, mamita and papito, my mom's parents whom I know travelled all the way from Spain, my closest cousins, and my uncles and aunts too. I also saw Marco's older brother Jacob. But I didn't see Marco who was my childhood best friend with which I made a very silly promise that we would get married someday when we both turn 25.
And then someone gave me a back hug and that's when I realized it was Marco who blindfolded me earlier. I turned around and hugged him back so tight. It's been 6 years since the last time we saw each other. Marco and Jacob both left for Paris to be with their father and to have a better future in college as Maricar, their mom, would always say. Maricar was also there in the celebration along with her new husband, Benny. I wonder how are the two boys doing with their situation. I've always wanted Marco to be transparent with me about this so that I can be that best friend who gives enough comfort and relief from the stress he's receiving but he is really privy about his family life. Well, I am still thankful that is open to me in the other aspects of our lives unlike his brother Jacob who keeps everything as confidential to his own self as possible and who is so fond of teasing me.
We started the celebration with a prayer and mamita volunteered to lead the prayer. After that, we started getting our food from the buffet set beside the kitchen door. I sat between Marco and Callie, my cousin whose the same age as me. Along with us on the table was Jacob who was staring at me the moment we sat on the table.
"Hi Jacob! Is there any problem?" I asked.
"Oh nothing. I just quite missed your pigtails Michelle." he said. I used to tie my hair in pigtails 6 years ago but not anymore of course. It was just in 2nd year college that I realized that pigtails don't really fit my age, I mean, people tend to see me more like a highschool student than a college girl. And yes, Jacob is the only one who calls me Michelle. No matter how I remind him to use my second given name, he would still opt for Michelle which pisses me off.
"Why I guess you just missed teasing me everytime you see me." I replied.
I then remembered Jackie's party tonight. Marco was kind of Jackie's unofficial ex but they never talked about it and just remained friends. So I decided maybe I could ask Jackie if I could bring Marco since he was also once part of our circle. I texted Jackie and she agreed with too much delight.
"Hey Marcius, wanna go with me tonight at Jackie's?" I asked Marco.
"Really? Is it fine with Jackie?" he said.
"Why yes of course! Sure that girl misses you too." I said teasingly.