The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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In the moments leading up to Mohammad's medical school graduation, his father (and inspiration) could not be there to watch him graduate because he had suffered a severe stroke days before. This was a huge moment in his life, as it felt like he could not celebrate his proudest accomplishment because of his father's condition.

Before Mohammad left the house in his striped cap and gown that dragged along the floor as he walked, he stopped into his father’s bedroom to say goodbye. 

When he entered the room, his father was reclining on his navy blue rocking chair that creaked with each sway. His father greeted him with a half-smile and put his hand on his son’s. He was speechless due to suffering a stroke days prior, but Mohammad knew he was so happy to see him ready to graduate, despite not being able to cheer from the stands as he accepted his diploma. 

Mohammad’s eyes began to well up with tears and his father not far behind him. He gave his father a warm hug and a soft kiss on the cheek before saying “I love you” and exiting the room. 

He stepped inside the van with his mother and younger brothers, while his sisters stayed behind to care for their father. He was overcome with emotion as the thought of his father not being able to watch him graduate medical school was something the both of them never imagined. His father was a military commander who was very disciplined and held high standards for his children. Mohammad grew up inspired by his greatness and used his father’s success as motivation to one day make him proud. 

Upon arriving at the ceremony, Mohammad and his classmates were quickly sorted alphabetically before entering the auditorium. The headmistress blew a whistle to gather the graduates’ attention and they all fell silent. 

Yell-a!” she shouted, meaning “let’s go” in Arabic. It was time for the ceremony to begin. 

First in line, Mohammad entered the auditorium, feeling the pleasant stares of the hundreds of parents and peers eager to watch their loved one graduate. Upon finding his seat, he searched the crowd for his family to see where they found a spot to sit. As his eyes surveyed the people seated in the bleachers, he noticed a man with a dark mustache, prominent widow's peak, and eyes that gleamed like his father’s. He did a double take, as he thought he had just seen his father, but he quickly realized it could not be him. Before he could spot the rest of his family, he broke into tears and hid his face in the sweaty palms of his hands. 

When the time came to accept his diploma, Mohammad wiped his tears, and walked across the stage. With each step, he was strengthened by the constant support from his father that he felt throughout this whole journey, and at the moment, from his creaky navy blue rocking chair.

Graduation Day

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