Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Best Night of The Year

Last night was our town’s high school graduation. After the ceremony the kids get on buses and are driven throughout the town for maybe an hour before they are shepherded away to a secret location to spend all night together. My neighbors throw a lawn party for the event and when night falls and the buses pass by, a hundred of us line the streets banging on pots and pans, standing on top of parked cars screaming and clapping and waving to the newly minted high school graduates. Sometimes someone hauls a drum set to the curb. One boy plays the bagpipes. The procession is led by a flashing police car and fire truck and lasts no more than 10 minutes, but the joy is palpable and it’s incredibly moving. And while it was happening I was thinking that I would give anything – anything -- to be celebrated like that just one time in my life.

I turned to my friend and said, “Maybe we should have this kind of procession for women who’ve been married 20 years. We could all pile into buses, be driven through town and people could cheer for us.” Not because 20 years of marriage is especially hard, but, like high school, it’s a long haul and often fraught with bullshit. Then, tired and depleted, we would all spend an unspeakably long time together at some gaming arcade. The sun would come up and we’d be ferried back home, never so happy to crawl back into our own beds.

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