We are at our end and our goodbyes! I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. For those of you who have read this from beginning to end, I thank you. For those of you who read this when I first started writing, good on yah! I know it must have bothered you greatly when I didn't upload for…what? Seven months almost? Anyway! Thank you all!
-Roughly Seventeen Years Later-
The principal of Parkway West High School looked over the graduating class. A smile was on his face, "And now this year's valedictorian will speak. Ladies and gentlemen, your valedictorian, Conall Bourne."
There was a collective applause from the crowd of family, friends, and students. A young man walked up to the podium. He wasn't tall, but he wasn't short. He was a handsome guy with short, curly brown hair and dark brown eyes. Across his face and over his covered arms were naturally occurring freckles. Conall was the perfect mix of his parents. Clearing his throat he looked over his friends and right into the crowd. He found his father and smiled a bit, "Riamh a thabhairt suas. It was something my mother always said to me growing up. It means 'never give up' in Gaelic. For those who don't know, my mom was Irish. Anyway, for my entire life I lived by those words. They were the bread and butter of everything I did. She was the driving force behind anything and everything I wanted to do. She never let failure pass. Now, because we didn't let failure pass, we're all here today. We never gave up. We never quit. It was because of that determination that we are here today. Some of us are here with Honors, some with Highest Honors, and some are here because we simply passed our classes and our exams, but we are here nonetheless. Call me cliché, but the world is ours for the taking. What I want you to do now is always think of the words 'Never give up'. When your marriage seems to be circling the drain, never give up. You married him or her for a reason! When your kids are buggin' the hell out of you because you didn't get them the newest toy on the market, never give up. Don't crack just because they keep whinin', you didn't get it for a reason!" This had some of the kids laughing and a few of the girls nodding in agreement. Conall grinned, "Lastly, never give up on life. Just because things aren't going your way doesn't mean it's the right thing to do by ending it. You were put here for a reason and don't give up on it. With that, I say congratulations graduates of 2028! We made it!" He took off his cap and tossed it in the air.
The students before him all hooted and hollered. They tossed their caps in the air and clapped happily.
In the stand Evan Bourne stood and applauded with the rest of the parents. Just like many of them his kid had just graduated high school. He was proud, proud enough that a tear hit his eye.
-Later That Day-
Evan and Conall stood in front of a gravestone. They were both frowning the same frown. The gravestone read "Catalyn Fae Bourne. 1983-2026. 'Riamh a thabhairt suas'". She had died at age forty-two. She had lost a four year long fight with pancreatic cancer. Though uncommon for most under the age of forty or forty-five, Catalyn had been one of the dismal few. She had died in a hospital bed with her son and her husband by her side.
Conall was crying silent tears, "I wish she was here…"
Evan put a hand on his son's shoulder, "You aren't the only one." He gave his son a weak smile, "She would have really liked that speech. You did good, Conall, and you did me proud. Knowing her she would have cried the second you started speaking." He felt a tear run down his cheek. He couldn't help but to shake. The forty-five year old man refused to reign in the tears. Catalyn had been the best, nay, the perfect wife. Every day he missed her. Sighing, he looked at his son, "Did I ever tell you exactly what I felt when I saw her for the first time in a year?"
Conall shook his head, "You always said you were mad, but you never let me delve into it. You always said it wasn't important and that it was behind you and mom."
Evan sighed, "I had been curious about what the divas were all 'ooh'ing and 'aw'ing over. When I saw Cat…I wished my curiosity would go die on a hill. I wasn't just mad…I was infuriated."
The new graduate looked at his dad, "Really? Mom always said you were never an angry kind of guy. I know that."
"You've never seen me angry. You may have seen my peeved or slightly mad, but never angry." He sighed, "I broke her wrist."
Conall's jaw hit the floor, "What?"
"The night I found out she had disappeared with my baby…I was beyond pissed. After a while I came to terms with why and I even understood why she did it, but still. She always lied and said she tripped down the stairs…she said that you didn't need a dad with a history. She even asked me to love you even if I never loved her." He sighed, "I did…do…love her."
"Why are you telling me this now?"
Evan sighed, "Because there will always be secrets and there will always be lies and there will always be rumors, but eventually you have to come clean. Conall…the day you tell a woman, not some girl, but a real woman that you love her…everything will change. You're gunna wanna buy her a ring and give her the biggest wedding, but it doesn't matter about how extravagant it's done, it just matters that it's done."
The teenager was highly confused, "Huh?"
The now ex-wrestler laughed, "You'll know what I mean, kid, trust me. Just remember what your mom always said and what you just said at graduation."
Conall smiled, "Never give up."