“I’ve decided I want to graduate early!” Kiki announces at breakfast the next morning.
“Say what?” says Ira.
“Wait a sec!” Case says. “You want to what?”
Kiki explains about her counselor’s text.
“Just think how much I could learn if I don’t have to go to school!” Kiki exclaims. “I could work on my painting, step up my workout routine, start a daily yoga practice! Maybe learn a new language! I’ll be so ready for college in the fall! Or maybe, by some stroke of luck, I could even get early admissions and start Spring semester!”
Once they get past the shock and the idea of a change in plans, Case and Ira can’t think of a good reason for her to postpone graduation, and all the options she envisions for the coming months sound promising, so the wish becomes reality.
Kiki graduates early, and before they know it, they’re having a graduation party.
No one from high school comes, but Olive Tinker, Lea, and a few family friends show up, eager to usher in this new stage of life for Kiki.
Case puts birthday candles on the graduation cake. “It is like a birthday,” he says, “for the new high-school-graduate you!”
Kiki knows what to wish for. While a few months off of school sounds enticing, Kiki’s secret desire is to somehow get accepted early so she can start after winter break. A college student! She can taste it with every bite of vanilla icing!
Ira, who’s been a student for the past ten years, can’t imagine one more semester. She’s so close to done. All that’s left is the defense of her dissertation and the adjudication of her last show.
Case feels a bit overwhelmed. So many changes!
Ira’s accomplishments–the stellar grades, the acclaim at her art shows, the so-close-you-can-touch-it graduate degree in fine arts–these are successes that she hasn’t even realized she’s achieved yet. But Case feels respect, admiration, and gratitude. He’s so glad she’s been here to be a role model for Kiki.
On her first Saturday as a high school graduate, Kiki drinks each breath on her morning run. It’s the flavor of freedom. No homework! No classes on Monday! She can set her own routine and run all morning, if she wants.
That afternoon she submits her college and scholarship applications. She’s applied for next fall, but she put a check in the box asking if she would consider early admissions, if there were openings.
She has a good feeling about this. She wrote her application essay from her heart, her teachers provided shining recommendations, and her transcript practically blazes with her high marks.
There’s a door opening before her, and she’s going to fly right through it!