The academic regalia lay in a carelessly flung heap on her bed.
The girl stared at it with hatred, the robe, the hood, the ugly mortarboard, and wished she could take a knife to the whole mass of dark cloth, tearing at it until it resembled the chaotic mess she felt within her.
She still remembered with perfect clarity the fit of peevishness and anger which washed over her when her mother had sounded disappointed, a few days earlier, that she wanted to skip her own graduation ceremony. Dad's looking forward to it, her mother had said softly, and with that sentence, rage flared up in her.
She was surprised at her reaction, and the strength of it, but a deeply-rooted sense of guilt and filial piety had her biting back her natural loathing towards the graduation ceremony, swallowing it down and making herself sick in the process.
She hated the robes, hated the idea of the graduation ceremony, hated the pride in her parents' eyes, hated them all.
This whole damn thing, she thought, sick to the core, is pointless.
The heap of cloth on her bed continued to taunt her by its mere presence, the mortarboard arrogantly daring her to slash it. She would have loved to shred the robe to pieces and hang herself with the hood, but the fact that it was a rental prevented her.
Come to think of it, she hated, too, the practical, polite side of her which always emerged victorious when inner battles were being fought out.
Her mother's voice rang out, interrupting her thoughts, asking her if she was ready for the photography session.
I'm coming, she said, gathering up the robe, hood, mortarboard and putting on her smiling, everything's-okay mask.