Our cloth's feathers fluttered in the wind as though it was a bird's fragile wings being freed from the fishing line that held them sewn together. The bird shouting freedom, freedom! with our every step, as it fluttered its wings free of that line; as we ran out of the school we had gone to almost every day for three years. And our cloth read: "Tack mästaren, TE14A". Thank you The Master, TE14A.
Around the stage a sea of men and women and children stood. Families of those running out, of those graduating. We were first to run out, joint together in spirits of joy by our hands holding on to the cloth that fluttered in the wind as we jumped up and down in accordance with the song that boomed in the background. And a man with a microphone stood and commentated our flight as though it was a sporting event. But I never heard the man’s voice, and neither the song when I ran out; perhaps only a dampened roar from the outer world while there were too many other emotions and thoughts running through my mind and heart.
Don't fall. Run quicker. Run slower? Grab the cloth. Jump. Jump more. Smile. Don't look like a fool. Do I look too short? Be happy. No, do I really? Feel the joy. Smile some more.
So through my ears the music never seemed to pass. Perhaps only my own heartbeat was that which drummed in my eardrums, with its bird-like fragility embracing the freedom to fly. But I do not remember.
Though, I do remember all I saw. Every sense of those few minutes that my eyes could absorb. How the sun was shining. How there were men and women standing covering the parking lot with signs in their hands. And how we, now, were out of school. We had graduated. And we were free. The fishing line that had been tied around our wings was shattered. Now the eternal summer holiday had begun, also known as unemployment. And we would never have to pass through those doors again. We had left them in joy. And isn't it so that it is the last memory of something that carves the greatest mark into our souls? Carves over the hardships and pains; the anxieties and worries, either with solace or joy or pain. The last moment with the one we hold dearest in old age. The last word to a grandparent gasping for life. The last embrace and word with that friend that died. The last day on this earth. Or the final minutes before freedom. Isn’t it that feeling which lingers in our soul for a long time passed?
We walked into the crowds then, the sea of people, like sailors battling a storm raging around, with cheers and eyes searching for sons and daughters, in our own search for our own families; whom stood holding the signs were pictures of us as children were printed together with our name and class. And we battled through the storm until we found them, hugged them, and smiled. We were free. And the birds all around had their wings untied and they shouted freedom with their joyful cries which ran through all their hearts.
I now sit in our library at home. With books around me which I now have the energy and time to read, and I jot down my emotions and thoughts. Those that so suddenly and frailty are passing by, fleetingly crossing the paths between conscious and subconscious. And soon the guests will arrive; family and friends congratulating me on completing the first part of my life; that which is meant to have laid the foundation for the rest.
And I feel a sense of joy of course, that I have finished school. That I am no longer bound. But I also feel a sadness. Sadness for it all to be over. That the day I have known since I was six years old, for twelve years, is gone, over. School on the weekdays and freedom on the weekends with homework cluttering the tables around the house, is what I have known for almost as long as my memories can thread me back in time.
And now, without any certain plans for the future; for I might get an internship, and I might study at the university, it is what I have in my heart which I am left with as the author of my future, not a structured day imposing what to do or what I should learn. And thus in my heart I am left with my creative ventures and a curiosity and love for life and all it entails. That, as which will author my life. Now it is wholly up to me to take my own life in my own hands and carry it forth like a burning candle in the night.
It is a strange feeling but before now it hadn't really dawned on me. That my time is now, and I am to do what I please with it. That being; to do good by others and good by myself. I am free. The fishing line holding the fragile bird's wings together is cut, and the bird flies free. And through my life I will strive to give others kindness and hope and faith (faith is not necessarily religious, but faith in life and a better world) and joy, but also show people that it is all right to be sad, to cry. It hurts, but it passes. My soul and heart have met many times with sadness, as all. Sadness may last for a long time, years; it might lead to frustration and anger, and a sense of lostness alike that to a sailor lost at sea, but with hope and support it will subside, like the wind finally calms for the sailor's sails to once again sail and not rage, and turn into a will to spare others the same fate.
We are the sculptors of our lives; and thus we must strive to sculpt good, to do good, with our chiselling and our sculpting, with our actions and our lives.
I will make the best of my time here on earth. There is so much I want to do. That I will do. I will study, I will think, I will be kind, helpful, joyful. I will write to understand myself and share emotions, my thoughts, my feelings, truth, and discovery. I will photograph to do the same and to show the beauty and horror of the life we are all an integrated part of; to show and save people, cultures, earth, and life. And I will draw to let the world and what I see pass through me to understand it, relax, and see further, deeper.
What more will I do?
I will play the piano. I will learn more languages, and the phenomenom which is language itself. I will study philosophy, social sciences, history, medicine, biology, literature, and most important of all; life, and I will do it all with love for each heart that beats inside every living creature. I will study whatever awakens the drummerboy inside my heart, and what makes him beat that drum which sets my mind and body alight.
What more? What more? I feel the heat of life burning with love within me. Do you feel it too in you?
I will see the world, for, like Ray Bradbury wrote, "It is more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories." I will question those who state the improbable as impossible. I will fill my notebooks with ideas of deep thought, of wonder, of interest, and of possibility; of joy, of fear, of hope, and of, most importantly, love. And at the end of my life, if the end nears slowly, as I feel the endless void coming, when I touch it with my fragile hands, I will look through these notebooks and see my life's documentary. And I will read, explore, dream, and live my life once more; one last time, before I draw my last breath, and venture into the greatest unknown there is: an endless death.
I will read. Explore the world both directly and through literature, photography, film, and art, and whatever medium the future may hold. And I will live by love, and I will always allow myself to look at the stars and dream of a better world regardless of what us humans do or what some may say. Dream of, no, work for, a world where we live in peace, accepting our differences as what makes us human, our differences as a part of the ever-ongoing diversity of life and society, and where all can live in joy, live the life they wish to live. If we do this, I beleive we can reach the stars we dream to in this century.
But perhaps that world of peace and unity will not exist within my, within our, lifetime, but perhaps my grandchildren's, or my children's, or even the one's we bring into this world this very day. That faith is what I will have carry me out of bed on mornings when the gloom hangs in the square, when death and hatred looms in the world.
That perhaps, at the end of at least our grandchildrens’ lives, they will look up at the stars, not to a god but to us, and say: "We created a world of peace, of joy, and of love. Please be proud." But we will be silent, for we have left this earth a long time ago. Yet, after their words, when they then turn their eyes back on the earth, they will dream of something even better. For that is what us humans forever strive for, our endless quest for joy, our endless will to understand ourselves and the universe, it is our ultimate goal. And we must take that dreaming of something greater and not let it reside in hatred for another, but in love and joy and hope and a sense of goal for all: that one day we can live in peace and full humunity, a unity among all humans, where we do not kill each other or hurt each other because of differences, but love each other for them.
I will leave you with four words formed by the great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:
"I have a dream." And only that. "I have a dream."
I merely hope that your dream is for the good of humanity. To cherish all lives and to live for a better world, breathe for a better world. My dream sure is. And now, you may too, wherever in life you may be, be free, like the bird who's wings are no longer threaded by the fishing line of imprisonment or fear. And instead soars with the will of love.
Viktor Aronsson, 2th of June 2017, Day of graduation from high school