Graduation Day

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A very short story concerning a young man's graduation ceremony.

Submitted: June 14, 2016

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Submitted: June 14, 2016

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The day had finally arrived! The momentous day that Jacob had been awaiting for 3 long years. This was the day that his 3 years of dedicated and consistent study had lead to. His graduation ceremony! The ceremony was to be held, as per tradition, in the spectacular great hall of the university campus. The building itself was one of the oldest parts of Henfordshire University and had held countless ceremonies and events there over its 300 year existence. Rumours had spread around campus that three Kings, four Prime-ministers, three Archbishops and one Field Marshall had set foot in the building over the years, however very little of this could be claimed with any real evidence.  It had been designed and built in a rather Gothic style with large somewhat imposing statues and aggressive pronged towerments poking into the sky, despite being of a later era. Jacob always thought that was what gave it its character. It was quite a building to behold inside with its high decorated ceiling, fine oak paneling, sparkling period chandelier, highly polished floors and tall, stained glass windows.

 
Now at 1:48pm on the 4th May 2014, Jacob found himself on foot to the Great Hall with little time to dilly-dally. He had dressed himself sprucely in his dark ceremonial gown, squared hat and expensive new shoes. The shoes sure felt awkward to walk in but that was a small price to pay for looking truly dapper! He now walked alone towards the large, heavy looking doors which marked the main entrance. Already the noise of the gathering crowd came floating to his ears as he neared his destination.
 
By 1:58pm on this unusually mild and overcast day, the seated crowd inside the hall stood at around 450 people. Family, friends, work colleagues, professors, partners, intellectuals, critics to mention afew. A rather formal looking steward in a long black robe quietly closed the main doors as the ceremony began. Attentions had now turned from idle chit chat and small-talk to the event they had all traveled here for today. Throats were cleared, legs crossed and voices hushed as the whole audience stilled for the proceedings. A warm round of applause marked the graceful entrance of the esteemed University Dean followed closely by his staff.
 
Jacob sat eagerly, yet somewhat anxiously, as he watched his fellow students be called up, by name, to receive their prized diploma. Student after student walked up accompanied by a soundtrack of clapping hands to collect their rolled up and sealed certificate representing their hard work and final mark of success. He must have been in a day-dream when he realized that his name had been called a second time, rather loudly, by the venerable and almost unbelievably well spoken Dean.
 
Jacob felt himself swallow hard and an uncomfortable heat come to his cheeks as he realized that the audience were all now looking in his direction waiting for some response. Jacob brought himself to stand on now trembling knees. He thought he would save himself from embarrassment by playing his error off with a joke. This however did not go to plan and remembering back that night in a solemn silence, he wished he had just walked quietly to collect his diploma like everyone else. For as Jacob turned to speak to the audience to unleash a little joke, he found his first word repeating on his lips and nothing else following. He paused and tried again, however he stammered the first word in an even shakier and pathetic sounding voice than his first attempt. By now a number of the audience had began to chuckle and he saw signs in the eyes of other onlookers that they were not far off.
 
He naturally looked down at the floor in a helpless embarrassment and generally did not know what to do next. An increasing number of the audience now started to laugh at Jacob and his odd behavior. Jacob was snapped out of his dithering, red-faced spectacle of shame by his now somewhat irritated Dean. His name being called a third time with notable force behind it caused Jacob to turn and look somewhat bewildered at his Dean and surrounding staff. He could not have realized it at the time, but his face was struck with such a gormless and puzzled look that another slice of the audience finally gave into belts of laughter.
 
Jacob walked with his head bowed, now weak-kneed and beetroot red towards the stage to collect his rolled up diploma. This was performed not to a round of applause but to laughter...a penetrating, coarse, faceless laughter that made Jacob feel around 2 feet tall and 2 years old. He wanted this experience to end quickly, however it would not, and he knew this deep down. Just before he turned toward his Dean to accept his diploma, he turned once more to the audience in a desperate attempt to reclaim some dignity. What Jacob forgot in all this distress, was that when he become nervous his stomach reacted drastically in one way or another. This lapse of thought cost him dearly, as it was what helped take him from measurably embarrassed into wanting to disappear into nothingness. What happened next was to Jacob the direct equivalent of finding himself stark naked in a public place.
 
As Jacob opened his mouth to speak, his usually coherent voice was instantly replaced with an enormous, resonating belch which seemed to roll around the room with amazing echo. Any singer in witness would have been impressed, if they could have controlled their laughter for even an instance. The Dean, humorless as usual, demanded loudly that the audience maintain respect and control their laughter. The audience surprisingly complied and the laughter dimmed. Jacob knew, even in his state, that the laughter would not subside for long and he would no doubt do something that sparked them off again. This sadly came only afew seconds later.
 
As Jacob faced his Dean directly to collect his precious mark of excellence, he slipped backwards. It was in this moment that time seemed to slow to a crawl, as if comparable to a life and death situation. As Jacob found himself falling backward through endless air, he dimly knew that something would happen when he hit the ground. His fears were solidified when his backside finally connected with the ground. It seemed that his stomach still had some complaining to do. It therefore expressed itself with a truly vile yet unforgettable sound that Jacob would or could never forget.
 
As Jacob's backside connected with the ground, the action was proudly declared with an astonishingly loud, abrasive, ripping fart that lasted about 4 seconds and seemed to contain about 4 different notes. It was not something that Jacob had ever done before and appeared to be something that the audience have never heard before. Jacob could tell this as they erupted into a wave of uncontrollable hysterics at the sound. The sound of this laughter hit Jacob like the emotional equivalent of a speeding 40 tonne truck. The Dean did not even try to quell this ruckus as he had done earlier. He knew it would be to no avail. It was at this stage that he simply stood and buried his face in his hands and shook his head in utter despair.
 
Jacob knew that he had to escape. His primary concern was to get away from this hall, from the penetrating non-stop laughter, from the heaving, pointing mass of gloating onlookers. He stood on legs that were now jelly and started his desperate run for the exit. He ran and ran yet the door seemed to be in another continent and was not getting any closer. He knew that he tripped messily several times and likely farted again but was amazed that his legs moved at all. His hand finally struck the door and he pushed it with all his strength to open it to the outside world. To his amazement the door complied with him and fell open onto the grey world outside. He fell with it and forced his legs to keep going despite how scared and distressed he was.
 
Jacob found himself running across the finely mowed University green. His legs started to gain strength and his knees kept. The sound of the laughter grew quieter and quieter as he got further from that hall he had until only a few moments ago treasured and admired. He did not think about stopping until he was clear of the University grounds and down the road. His cap had flown off a while back and now lay in a puddle to be found and maybe kept as trophy of sorts. Jacob did not look back, he did not want to hear anything but his own heavy breath and rapid footsteps...as they were his and always had been.
 
Jacob knew that what had happened this day would likely stay with him forever. He knew that well. But now, he ran.


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