Friday, September 11, 2009

The Way We Were continued....

High school reunions are like contests. Everyone’s there to prove they should have been voted most likely to improve in the senior yearbook. It doesn’t matter if you’ve failed at everything in life, you’re going to make it sound like that was your intent, or you’re blissful about it regardless. You certainly can’t walk in and hang your head low in shame and admit that you never lived up to your potential, can you? Supposedly everyone there is judging you, who knows if that’s really true but ask anyone about their early reunions and they’ll agree, they are stressful events, even if you’re a millionaire movie star. The people who used to make your life miserable still have the power to do so 15 years later. It’s impressive the hold childhood bullies have on you, but it’s probably not for another 15 years that you learn how to ignore them or their supposed judgments.

So that’s where I was when I decided to attend my 15-year reunion. Who was going to be there to remind me of who I was back in high school, and not in a good way?  Naturally I showed up at my best: a fat, unemployed east-coaster with a house full of cats (I had been running a cat rescue in my house for a couple of years), 11 to be exact. And would I feel the same way I did when I was 16 when JF, the guy who back in high school had criticized every choice I made, turned his attention to me, as he would inevitably do at some point during the weekend? Well I found an old classmate girlfriend, S, to go with so that neither of us had to go alone to face the music and I took a deep breath and stepped in. The first night was cocktail night, most people looked the same and I hugged everyone regardless of whether we knew each other well or even had spoken in high school. Heck, you never know what can happen in a weekend. Naturally, the two people I was most concerned about seeing again were there: JF and my old friend TK. I dreaded being alone with either of them, but I made it through cocktail hour with no ill effects. The most complicated part was the alcohol. See, part of why I was dreading seeing them is that I felt that they had both judged me the last time they saw me and decided I was an alcoholic (TK because of the letter he wrote). Let me fill you in on why JF was part of the equation. JF was my prom date Senior year out of sheer persistence and guilt trips. He told me that if I wouldn’t go to prom with him he just wouldn’t go, so I felt sorry for him and went, but it was with the condition that he was not going to interfere in my good times, such as they are at 16. Woohoo, I was gonna party like it was a sober 1999 baby.

JF had many issues, and one of them I found out was alcohol and his very negative opinion about the consumption of said beverage. So three days before prom, when I had attended the senior post graduation party at someone’s house and had sampled, and I mean one sip, one person’s tequila drink and one person’s beer, JF had witnessed it. Now JF being JF and having a habit of blowing things out of proportion proceeded to go home and freak out apparently because the next night I got an anguished phone call from him pleading with me to promise him we wouldn’t drink at prom. He was on the verge of tears for some reason, I’m sure a good one to him, and really needed me to make this promise to him. Being an insanely good girl myself, I had no intention of drinking, especially considering that I had already arranged with him that I would drive myself around to the post prom parties and therefore would be insane if I had wanted to drink and drive. I was the kind of teenager that took that at face value and thought one sip would make me drive off the road, so he literally had not one reason to get upset.  But there we were in the middle of the night having this ridiculous conversation about my abusing alcohol.

Well, on prom night I was a bit of a pain in the ass to this guy JF because it angered me so much that he had moralized to me, an honestly good girl, about this drinking thing. So when my friends asked me to chauffeur them to their houses so they could raid their parent’s alcohol cabinets during one of the after parties, I did. And when my friend S suggested we should pretend we were drunk in front of JF just to worry him, I agreed wholeheartedly. So, when we returned from our field trip we tossed candy to each other in a manner we thought suggested drunken behavior, our worldly knowledge of said behavior being rather small at the age of 16, and JF took the bait hook, line and sinker. You couldn’t have done a worse thing to that boy I think because the next minute I found myself dragged into a private conference with him and his worried little face. You would have thought that my provision that he not get involved in my post prom partying would have covered this instance, but I am really a nice girl and couldn’t just walk out on this guy and his overwhelming need to ascertain if I was really screwing up or not. Why it was any of his business whether I was drinking or not is still unclear to me, but I stood there for 30 minutes arguing with him over whether I was drinking or not and why I thought it was funny to act drunk and how it was none of his business anyway, and I don’t remember how, but I got away eventually.

So here I am, grown up and 15 years later at this cocktail hour, and I’m so concerned about this man judging me, right along with TK, since due to the aforementioned letter I thought he had agreed with JF about my alcoholic tendencies, that I actually picked a non alcoholic beverage to drink! A grown woman, age 31, and having lived alone quite successfully without receiving a DUI citation, contracting an STD while having drunken blackouts or ever having even puked from alcohol consumption, making a decision to drink a soda because some ass from high school might be judging me to be a drunkard. Mind you the first gathering of a reunion could be no better a place for a little relaxing beer. No one was comfortable, and nothing would have been better than a bit of liquor to chill me out. Suddenly I realized that my old nemeses were themselves drinking beer! I was free to drink as I wished, right? How liberating that was and yet how stupid that I had even paused for a moment. But we do let those old tapes play in our heads a lot don’t we? It’s like the stuff that’s said to you as a kid gets permanently carved into the walls of your brain whereas the adult stuff is like a mist that drifts off no matter how many times you hear it. I’m an adult now! I can do what I want! And if that means I get pissing drunk at the reunion, who the hell is caring anyways!!!!

Once I got over my issues about the judgements of the past, I started looking at my old friend TK a little closer. He was hot. No I mean really! He looked gooooooood. What had he been up to all those years? Why was he so damned attractive to me? I came to this reunion quite happily attached to someone back in Maryland. But there was something about this guy....

Later that evening, we relocated to a bar and I saw TK drinking more, further assuring me that he was not that guy who supposedly judged me 15 years before. I started making eye contact with him, little meaningful glances that were supposed to impart how much I wanted him to sit next to me an talk to me so we could see what happened. But, being the nice guy he is, he couldn’t figure out how to get near me since I was sitting in a back corner and I had to make do with sitting near him and listening to him talk to someone else. I basically pined for him all evening and went home disappointed. I had one more day to figure out what was going on here and why I had this insane need to talk to this man, or more honestly, grope him madly.

To be continued.....


  1. What a funny story! Intriguing : ) I haven't gone to my high school reunion yet. I don't know if I want to! Stopping over from SITS

  2. I had you much younger than you are; I had you in your mid 20s, but I'm thinking you are probably in your mid 30s. This is fascinating to read; and you are right people go to reunions to show people "how good they made it" etc. I'm glad you decided to throw caution to the wind and go to the reunion, not knowing what might have happened


  3. My mid thirties is already over. I'm in my end thirties. Sniff.

  4. I haven't had a high school reunion yet. I'm not sure I would want to go to it. I am very interested to read what happens next.