Jerry refused to take off his robe after the ceremony ended. I paid for this he said, actually stomping his foot in protest. A week later I went by his house to check on him. His mom's text sounded upbeat, but anxious. He was still wearing the damn thing. Mustard colored blobs around the collar and coffee stains on the sleeves, Jerry had been sleeping in his robe. The time has come, let's take it off.
I had to coax him into the bathroom. I held his arms up over his head. Like a snake skin being sloughed off after winter, I helped him peel off the robe. I'm not ready he whispered, our eyes locking in the bathroom mirror. You're ready. I handed him a razor and gestured toward the shaving cream. Get yourself together and I'll see you downstairs. Fifteen minutes passed, then a half hour.
I heard a loud thump and both me and his mother ran up the stairs. I shoved the bathroom door aside, expecting to find him on the floor or in the tub. He wasn't there. We raced into his bedroom. The window was open. The robe was gone. Jerry was gone. I admired his conviction. I took off my robe mere seconds after the ceremony ended.