Graduate. I will graduate. I will be a graduate. Verb. Noun. Verb:to graduate. To turn away from the comfort and security of my home, myown bed, whose bulky, floral comforter envelops me even in the summer, when I get lost in the pillows of my innocence. My seldom clean room, my brother’s annoying, blaring music downstairs, which rattles thefloor, in a violent, but somehow endearing earthquake. To abandonWally’s Mobile, and Main Street, New City, (in all its disarray), with cars flying by, bouncing over the raised manhole covers and sewerdrains, zig-zagging through a temporary course lined with orange cones, trying to pass for a roadway. Drivers cursing the town for taking so long to complete the road widening, while also noting that each shoppingcenter is in desperate need of a paint job. I wonder, Why have Ibecome so attached to my utterly boring daily life? The answer lies inthe question: MY utterly boring daily life, The one chosen for me. The one I must leave. I won’t only graduate from high school, Butfrom clean, folded laundry on my bed each day, From my brothers’ LittleLeague games, and school concerts, My little blue Jetta in the driveway, And David’s Bagels breakfast before midterms. I wish I could takethese things With me to Baltimore, To Johns Hopkins University WhereI will not be the big sister, the helpful daughter, thetrustworthy friend. I will simply be the noun. The graduate, Agraduate among many. I will be just one in a mass of My peers, Whom Iwill see in passing at Open houses and receptions. None can see withinme, Or know where I have been, Or what I have been through. But maybethey feel the same. I feel clogged, Suffocated by the thoughts andpressures, By the discouraging people who remind me that “It’s goingto be hard, hard work.” Give me the courage, Not to toss aside mychildhood In this small, suburban town, But just to tuck itaway, Hidden, Away from any outside influence, Or harm, In a placewhere I can always find it again.