Walk Down Misery Street

At the graduation ceremony, all of the graduates were expected to give a small speech. Kevin’s presentation was awaited with great anticipation. We all knew he was a man of few words. But his apt comments, sharp cutting humor, and unexpected outbursts of laughter suggested that a different man was hidden inside. We hoped Kevin would finally remove the mask and reveal himself.

On the eve of the ceremony, the excitement and curiosity around Kevin swelled. The Riddle of this Sphinx must be solved! Heated debates took place during the break. The majority was of the view that Kevin was one of “ours.” Opinions further diverged on another important topic: Which drug did he use? Some felt he was a heroin addict: “Only a real dope fiend can pretend like that.” Others asserted Kevin was an alcoholic and had the mindset and even the walk of a drunkard. Still others concluded: “No way. Kevin is your typical pill popper, a pill-head full of sedatives and tranquilizers.”

Who was right?

***

After receiving his diploma, Kevin offered a short speech. He thanked the teachers and he wished success to all his classmates. And then, to everyone’s dismay, he fell silent.

“Ke-vin, Ke-vin, Ke-vin . . .” one of the students began to call out Kevin’s name, rhythmically pounding his hand on the desk.

Others joined in. Within a minute, all students in the auditorium were drumming in unison on the desks.

“Ke-vin! Ke-vin!”

He was taken aback. He looked around, as if searching for an escape path.

“Ke-vin!! Ke-vin!!!” thundered the audience.

Kevin blinked several times, then, head bowed low, uttered:

“Yes.”

“Kevin! Why were you silent this whole time?! Why did you torture yourself and us?! Brother!”

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