Chapters 116-117 Summary
The Last Precept
In English, the final precept of the year is as follows: “JUST FOLLOW THE DAY AND REACH FOR THE SUN!” Mr. Browne reminds the class to send him a precept over the summer.
On the day of fifth grade graduation, Dad drives August to school. They arrive too early to go in, so they sit in the parking lot and sing along with the radio. As they wait, August frets about his hair, which is cut shorter than he has ever worn it before. He let Via put gel in it, and now he is regretting the choice. His dad tells him it looks fine, and that August looks more grown-up now.
Together, August and Dad marvel at everything that has happened over the year. August remembers his old Star Wars braid and teases Dad for hating it. Dad says politely that he “definitely didn’t love it,” but he adds that he hated August’s old astronaut helmet. He admits that he trashed it when August was recovering from surgery.
This is news to August, and he is furious. He demands to know how Dad could throw away one of his kid’s favorite possessions, and Dad begs August’s forgiveness. He says that wearing that helmet was never good for August, and he adds:
I missed seeing your face, Auggie. I know you don’t always love it, but you have to understand…I love it. I love this face of yours, Auggie, completely and passionately. It kind of broke my heart that you were always covering it up.
August forgives his dad, who begs him never to tell Mom. At this, August grins and jokingly lists off all the great stuff he wants: a new Xbox, a Porsche when he turns sixteen, and so on. By the time Jack arrives a few minutes later, August and Dad are laughing.
Before August gets out of the car to go inside and prepare for graduation, Dad stops him and double checks to make sure he is really forgiven. August says yes, but he asks Dad never to throw anything away like that again.
August goes to join Jack, but as an afterthought, August sticks his head back into the car and asks Dad not to kiss him after the ceremony. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” he says. Dad promises to try to remember, but he says he doubts Mom will be able to stop herself. August accepts this and heads inside.