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I'd been walking for five minutes or so when I realized I was completely disoriented and nowhere near my car.
My phone had been vibrating non-stop since my dramatic exit and as I was considering calling Jen to let her know everything was okay, I heard the jagged throttle of an engine coming up behind me.
None of the brilliantly written, eloquently delivered commencement speeches convinced me that it hadn't all been an exercise in futility.
The day I graduated from college turned out to be a bittersweet finish to years spent dedicated to academics and work, with neither the time nor desire for a social life.
Psychiatric medication had helped to suppress the hallucinations for a while, but in the past year or so, it had stopped working.
The visions resurfaced from the dark waters undiluted, and bad dreams, headaches and insomnia came with them.
I was accustomed to being a fifth wheel- or seventh wheel, in this case- so I placidly chewed the inside of my cheek, eyes cast to the distance as if admiring the view.
If I'd been anything, it was the eye of their hurricane- a calm, neutral spot in their tumultuous lives.Jennifer, in the midst of flirting back with Thomas, stopped to ask me in a failed whisper, "Ali- who the fuck is that insanely hot guy staring you down?" "Go say hello, Alice" my mother urged me hoarsely, her nails digging into the charcoal gray fabric of Bruce's jacket. I walked away from the awkward silence that followed, but I didn't go to my father.After congratulations and hugs, my mother and stepfather continued discussing where we should eat with the Fairfaxes, and my stepbrother, Thomas, started hitting on my oldest friend.A vivacious redhead from an affluent family, Jen never seemed to encounter a social situation she couldn't handle with ease, and they were soon deep in conversation.