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Her heart swelled with pride when her name was announced. Her friends and peers cheered and applauded. She couldn't contain her happiness and excitement as she walked up to the dais where the chief guest and other eminent people sat. When she was handed the scroll that proclaimed her a graduate and the gold medal that made her a rank holder, she almost fainted.
From the stage she looked at the audience, a sea of black robes and hats bejeweled with the beaming faces of proud parents. She looked away with the pain of realization that there was no one accompanying her. No parents and family members to applaud and click pictures, no one to discuss future plans with.
Walking down into the crowd of students, she went straight to her professor and her best friend since childhood, Dr. Anne. She hugged her tight and broke into soft sobs.
“You have done us proud. Forget the past. You made it……..all on your own.” The words comforted her.
Her journey had been fraught with obstacles, but she had now risen from being the mute, dependent wife of an abusive man to a strong, educated woman on her path to independence. She was glad that at the age of forty, she had graduated as a topper.