Lewis’s face was covered with a smirk. His tie loosened, hat off his head, bouncing down the stage to claim his freedom. This was it. The end of five years of non-stop detentions, scolding, and scathing glares, day dreams finally coming into fruition. Amidst the watchers and cheerers, his certificate rose like a glorious sunrise.


As he shaked the teacher’s hand, even the clouds of the storm outside parted as the rain stopped to see Lewis Crederman finally graduating  high school. 


That was five months ago. Lewis’s face betrayed a smile. He was alone in his new flat. His mates, brothers by everything but name, were gone, off to another party, in search of a bar where they weren’t banned. He hadn’t gone with them. He couldn’t. Their last argument – a lasting scar. They were rich, he wasn’t.


His eyes drooped, his normally bright room dulled with stained grey. He felt more tired now than he was before, from all the all-nighters pulled rushing assessments, typing up last minute essays. 

Searching for a plausible university to give him a chance, his face grimmed with every website. His life in college was a stop sign at every turn. Void of grades, exams, recommendations. The most he could hope for was a pity job in his mom’s cafeteria.


Lewis took a swig of the beer that sat on his worn table. He’d talked with everyone he could think of, but it remained that- without redoing the exam- he couldn’t get the architectural degree he’d wanted. The alcohol finally hit his stomach, and when the oppressing silence lessened, he took another sip. 


“You have to stop this, Lewis.”


His mother leaned against the doorframe, not bothering to knock.


“You can’t live like this forever.”


Lewis expected to rage. He expected to shout and tell his mother just how wrong she was. His life was doomed to fail. He had no choice, no paths left to take, suspended on a mountain cliff with nowhere to fall but down. But he stayed quiet. His shoulder sagged. She didn’t see the crumpled letters of rejection in the bin. 


She walked over, her hand resting on his shoulder.


She didn’t speak. She didn’t need to. She let the all encompassing silence stand heavily on his mind. 


Lewis turned his head. His eyes hid away the line of water forming. It’s finally caught up, he thought. It had been too fast. The train to adulthood had arrived, its steps glided down to the platform, yet he was too late to board. Too late for everything in his miserable life. 


For once, his form crumbled, his self, his form the role of a smiling clown, the prankster, the  go-easy-guy humbled because in this moment… 


“I don’t have a choice.” His voice rasped.


“No.”  His mother murmured “I picked up the daily mail today.”


On his lap fell a letter. Stamped with a castle, inside it read:


Dear Lewis Crederman, you’ve been accepted.


Brushing away a sudden tear, he did something he’d never done before. He hugged his mom.


Written by Haran Thiruemni and edited by Jessica Dai. Published on 16/7/23. Header image from Unsplash.

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1 Comment

  1. 💗💗💗 adore the subtlety of the descriptions here. love ♥️♥️

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