"Well Iris, organized schooling is finally over," Emily sighed as she threw her arm around my shoulder. We walked down
Broadway, passing the church that I used to help out at on the weekends.
I thought about what she had just said. She was right. It was 8:30 on a Thursday night and we were walking back from a
"Yep," I laughed as I unzipped my grad gown. I took the hat off of my head and looked at the blue and white tassel dangling
off the side. My four years went by so fast, and I had my best friend through it all.
I had moved to Buffalo when I was fourteen from Sarasota Florida. My mom Jaine had gotten a divorce from my stepdad. She
had had enough with his unpredictable temper. When my mom and I moved here, to Buffalo, we rented a small apartment on North
Street, just a few minutes from McKinley, my old high school. She knew some friends that lived in Tonawanda and they said
that the schools here were pretty good. So, within a few months of calling it quits, we were packed and moving, with the help
of my uncles.
When we moved here, it was the beginning of September and I had to start school right away. I hadn’t made any friends
in the first few weeks, but once I got my schedule finalized and figured out, it was during my eight period ceramics class
that I met my best friend, Emily. She, too, was new to Buffalo and we quickly became friends. We began walking home from school
together and then hanging out on the weekends. By junior year, we both had our license but saw no point in driving anywhere.
The streets of Buffalo weren’t meant to be driven, but slowly taken in as you make your way down the street on foot.
We reached Blossom Street and we stood at the Metro station. I was going to catch a bus the rest of the way home.
"Hey," Emily nudged me. "Do you wanna do something tonight?"
"Like what?" I bent over and rolled up my pant legs. It had to be at least 80 degrees.
"I don’t know. There’s gonna be some bands playing at the Continental tonight. Wanna go there?"
"Yeah, why not? I don’t have any other plans."
"Give me a call later. There’s the bus."
"Ok. See ya."
Emily turned to go to her house on Michigan Avenue.
Boarding the bus and paying my fee, I took a seat in the front and looked out the window. Before I knew it, the bus was
at my stop. I hopped out and walked down the sidewalk. I waved to our neighbor Mr. James. He and my mom dated for a while,
but she decided that they would be better off just as friends. For once, I liked Mr. James. He was very helping when we first
got here. I jogged up the stairs and opened the door to the apartment. My mom was sitting on the couch, talking on the phone.
"Hi sweetie," she smiled.
I sat next to her. "Is it ok if Emily and I went to the Continental tonight?"
"Yes, as long as I know where you are."
"Can I use the phone after I get ready?"
I hugged my mom and went up stairs to my room. Stopping by the bathroom, I got my bin of makeup. Opening my door, I greeted
my little dog, Wookie. I kneeled down, scooped him up and tossed him onto my bed. He snuggled up in my blanket and laid his
I walked over to my closet and opened the door. Scanning my clothes, I picked out a pair of baggy jeans and a Molly Hatchet
T-shirt. I changed and sat down at my vanity to fix my hair. I took a comb and teased my dyed-red hair, then smoothed and
straightened it. I bronzed my face, lined my eyes with brown shadow and curled my lashes. I looked into the mirror, into my
own green eyes, and a wave of sadness swept over me. I shivered it away.
"Mom!" I yelled. "I need the phone now!"
"I’ve been off!" she replied.
Walking over to the phone, I dialed Emily.
"Hey. You ready?" I asked as I slipped on my flip-flops.
"Yeah. What time is it?"
I looked at the clock next to me. "Um...9:30...almost 10. When does the shows start?"
"They already have, I think."
"Ok. Meet me at the bus station on my side."
"Ok. See ya."
I hung up the phone and sighed. I went down stairs and into the kitchen where my mom was popping popcorn. "Hey," I laughed.
"What are you gonna do tonight?"
"Probably watch some movies. What time will you be home tonight?"
"I don’t know. Any specific time?"
"Nah. Just try to call before hand and let me know."
"Ok. I have to go and meet Emily at the bus station."
"Before you leave, I want you to have this." she reached into her pocket and pulled out some cash. "This came from your
stepdad in the mail today. He said it was a graduation gift and it was to make up for not being there this afternoon."
"Oh boy," I said sarcastically. I took the money and unfolded it. It was one hundred and fifty dollars. "Wow."
"Yeah. Maybe he does care about you," she laughed.
"Don’t kid yourself ma’" I huffed. She stood and looked at me for a few seconds.
"Go on," she slapped my hip. "Have fun."
I gave her a hug, grabbed my purse and put my cell phone in it, grabbed the door key, and left.
Walking down the hall, I opened up the money again and put it in my pocket. I waddled down the stairs and ran into Mr.
"Hi!" He ran over and hugged me. "Today was the big day, huh?"
"Yeah. It’s crazy."
"You’ve grown up fast. I still remember the first day you and your mother moved in. You were so small," he smiled.
"Well, I’m sorry I can’t stay, but I have to be somewhere," I explained.
"Oh, well, here. This is a congrats present." he handed me a fifty dollar bill.
"Mr. James, you don’t have to do this."
"Yes, I want you to have it." He placed the money in my hand.
"Alright. Thank you."
"Anything you need Iris, don’t wait to ask me!"
"Ok." I waved and continued walking down the street.