Okay, so after Amy’s graduation and barbecue, we gathered all our things into the car, said our goodbyes, and embarked on a 9-hour car ride to Colorado Springs, Colorado for my brother's graduation the following day.
We left Orem at about 9 that night, as the sun was setting behind us, and we drove all through the night. Well, correction, Brian drove all through the night and I kept him awake. You see, Brian drives a stick and I’m far too dumb for that, so I don’t ever drive anywhere! I could have slept, I suppose, but I was far too afraid that he would fall asleep too and kill us both. Either that or push my sleeping body out of the car and abandon me somewhere. So no, I stayed awake too. It only took some Coke, a coffee with added espresso shots, and some 5-Hour Energy to keep Brian wide-eyed and alert through the night.
We listened to musicals on the way (I know, how gay are we?) and sang along whenever we were feeling drowsy. Slowly the sun began to rise, and in the early morning light we found my dad’s house. I called and let him know we were outside. It was 6 in the morning, and everyone was still asleep. However, as we were bringing our stuff into the house, my brother Daniel ran out to greet us and almost knocked me over with the enthusiastic hug he gave. We slept on the floor in his room ‘til about 10.
There are a few similarities between Daniel’s graduation and Amy’s, except things were more extreme with Daniel’s. For as behind on time as we were getting to Amy’s, we were much later getting to Daniel’s. Brian and I were in a car with my sister Renee and my brother’s girlfriend, Sofia. We were following my dad’s wife Patricia and my grandfather to the World Arena where the ceremony would be held. Just as it came into view, we found ourselves turning around. “Where are you going?” Renee asked Patricia on the phone. “I forgot your father.”
So by the time we made it back to the World Arena, we were late. Here’s where we encounter another similarity. But instead of dragging Brian’s limping mother around, we were trying to get my old and feeble grandfather inside. He walked twice as slow, was twice as grumpy, and eventually needed a wheelchair brought out to him.
Anyway, once inside we realized how different the ceremony would be from Amy’s. Instead of that hushed, reverent feeling as if we should all be praying, we were shocked to find a huge line at the concessions stand and vendors selling graduation gifts, balloons, and flowers. “Are we going to a game?” Brian asked me. Apparently some people thought so, as they flooded into the arena with pretzels, Dippin’ Dots, pizza, and beer.
Grandpa with his wheelchair, was able to score some good seats, with room for my dad and his wife. The four of us were not so lucky however. An usher informed us that there were four seats below where we could sit, but when we tried to sit down, the people around those seats immediately blew up at us because the seats were saved. We headed back up, and my dad saw us and wondered what happened. I told him, he told the usher, and next thing we know we have the usher gesturing to us to come and sit there, while she’s arguing loudly with the people saving seats. Apparently saving seats is a no-no. “I don’t want to sit there now,” I said to my dad. “The people next to us might shank us.” So we ran off and found some other seats in the nosebleed section. The ceremony was well under way by this point.
It was just as dull as Amy’s, maybe a little duller, but it didn’t have that churchy feeling. Instead of bragging about the graduating seniors who had already received mission calls, speakers bragged up the number of students joining the armed forces. The rednecks would always cheer really loudly whenever stuff like that was mentioned. Go America, I guess…
Daniel’s graduation party was much smaller than Amy’s. My mom and her husband Jim showed up. Patricia’s parents were there. My Grandpa Garcia, Brian and I, Sofia, Renee, my dad and his wife. That’s it. We sat around in the lobby of the Colorado Springs Rescue Mission where my dad works eating chicken strips and potato salad. Pretty boring, with way too much food. My mom was strangely distant with everybody (a new trait she’s gained now that she’s married to Jim it seems) and it was the only time we saw her that weekend. They stayed maybe an hour, went back to their hotel, and left for home the next morning.