2008. Solomon’s graduation. His wise little boy was now a wise young man. Tawny and Lynne had already graduated and gone away to college. Yet, they had returned for their brother’s graduation.
Now, with Sol leaving, that left Tariq. The young man was quite the prodigy with the paints. Just like his mother and her sketches. He wondered how many of those sketches made it to painting. He knew that at least a fourth of her sketch pad were watercolor paintings, but had she ever done any other medium? Oils? Acrylics? Tempura? Pastels?
He had no clue. At the moment, he didn’t have the wherewithal to contact her family and find out. Perhaps someday. But not now.
Now, the wound was still fresh. It was still open. Raw. And he still hurt too deeply.
It hadn’t been long enough for anything to fade. Least of all, the memories. Not that he wanted to forget the good times. The love.
He just wanted to forget the pain of losing her. The pain of having his soul ripped to shreds. It was still too much for him. Only his children kept him sane.
Now, he sat in the audience, a proud parent of another graduate that was emerging from the cocoon of high school as they readied themselves to fly into the world and seek their future. And Solomon already knew where he was headed. He was a writer. He wanted to reach the stars.
Well, he wanted to write the movies of the future. And produce them. Maybe even direct and act. But writing was his strength.
And Matt supported his desires. His aspirations. His dreams. His goals.
He had supported the goals of all his kids. It was something he felt was part of being a good parent. Maybe he was just another anomaly, but he wanted his kids to be whatever their hearts desired. Just as long as they remained law abiding. And didn’t follow his example. Well, the drug and alcohol part of his example, anyway.
If they wanted to go into music, that was fine. Perhaps one of them could take his place in the company. Somewhere down the road. But that looked like a fading dream now.
Not one of his children had entered the music business. Sure, Sol was going into movies. But He showed no interest in the company as a whole. None of the kids did. Most had gone into education.
But the world needed teachers. And he was proud of all of them. He had brought them up right. Something his mama hadn’t been able to do with him. Not that he hadn’t grown up right. Just that she had never been a part of that time.
Yes. It all came back to mama. Every last bit of it. Where had she been?
Of course, he knew the answer. she had been too busy seeking pleasure to help him when he needed her. Hell. She was dead now, and he needed her.
The sound of Pomp And Circumstance brought him out of his thoughts. This was Sol’s day, not his. He was here to celebrate with his son, not to argue with his emotions. But, damn! He wish Juanita was here to witness this!
She would have been so proud. She had wanted, so badly, to see this day. But she had not been able to. He only hoped she was watching from heaven. If heaven existed.
He watched as the young men and women marched to their seats. He picked out Sol immediately. Tariq had decorated his cap so that he was unique. Matt smiled.
He leaned over to Tariq. “There he is.”
Tariq smiled and nodded. “Awesome cap, Huh, Pops?”
Matt found himself smiling despite himself. “Sure is, son.”
Sol had graduated Valedictorian. Top of his class. All through high school, he had tutored other students. Especially the athletes who were getting less than satisfactory grades and were in suspension until they brought those grades up. And he was well respected.
He had been editor of the school paper. head of the yearbook staff. Class president, all four years. And school videographer for three.
He had been involved with the thespians, acting in one play, writing three, directing two, and producing one. He was the one always in charge of sound, lighting, and recording. He consulted on costuming, set design and makeup. He knew the set better than most in the industry.
He wrote compelling stories and engaging plays. He knew how to drive a point home without being preachy, yet still entertain. And each play was different. As was each story.
All were delicately crafted, like a piece of fine china. Immaculate. Pristine. Too good for Hollywood.
And Sol knew it. But he wanted to seek his own fortune, not live off his father’s fame. And it earned him greater respect from all. It let the world know that he was his own man.
And Matt could not have been more proud. His boy was quite the man. Tall and slender, he was deceptive. Not appearing to be strong, he was more muscular than he seemed. Tougher than the best wrestler.
But he was a gentle soul. Kind and courteous. A gentleman with the ladies. Respectful and generous beyond the norm.
He had dozens of girls chasing him, but only one he was serious with. Matt only hoped that she would not betray his son’s love. He hoped that Sol’s girlfriend would follow him to Florida. To film school.
After the pictures were taken and everyone went in search of the parties, Matt put the last minute touches on Sol’s. It was to be the best. Even his friends would talk about this party for decades to come. He smiled. Only the best for his boy.
Sol arrived a couple hours after the rest of the guests, having visited a couple for some friends. And those friends had ducked out of theirs to accompany him to his own. Matt watched them and smiled. It was nice to see his kids so well liked.