Keys, Ian Spence
Welcome home, they said when he returned to the hometown where he had attended elementary and high school.
He returned for the occasion of his high school commencement. A graduation and diploma ceremony, no longer a hat and gown affair one envisions with ‘pomp and circumstance’ in movies and television. He returned expecting to be reunited with former friends not yet forgotten. Instead, he was greeted by a bill: $50 outstanding for commencement service fees.
Welcome home, they said when he returned to his high school. The secretaries greeted him with the warmth of a tax collector, hands extended. They tell him: You can come to the commencement ceremony, but you won’t be leaving with a diploma. You can attend the university classes you have enrolled in, but they won’t recognize you as a student unless you show them a diploma. You can leave with a diploma, but it’s going to cost you fifty dollars.
He protested: I spent everything on university and accommodations. My savings, my parents’ savings. I may need to take a loan if I can’t keep my scholarship. I have to eat at the soup kitchen on weekends because I can’t afford groceries; and you’re telling me that I’m not a student, that I don’t have a diploma, that I lose everything unless I pay fifty dollars?
They tell him: Welcome home!