Saturday night was my high school reunion. I was prepared to go. I got dressed, even put on makeup, and was driving down Harlem Rd. I came to the 33, and instead of going straight as planned, I hooked a right and went elsewhere. I blew it off.
Many moons ago, my friend Chelsea and I made a pact to attend this reunion, our 20 year…well, 21, given Covid. However, Chels was out of town. I messaged Jaime, and neither of us seemed to know if we were going until it was time to go. I’m still not sure if she did. I do know that I did not.
First of all, most of my friends from high school are scattered now, and people that I would like to see are out of state or country. Sure, I’d be happy to see other girls from school, but my core group of friends really wasn’t going to be represented. Secondly, while the school held an all-class bash that I also did not attend, the reunion itself was at a bar and I wasn’t in the mood. I would have preferred something at the school, or perhaps outdoors. I don’t really drink, and I’m not about to spend a ridiculous amount of money on food or something, and I generally do not enjoy a bar atmosphere anymore. So, the whole idea of going just seemed oppressive.
Still, I wanted to, which I why I got ready and started driving. But then, my anxiety woke up.
It already wasn’t a stellar day, but when my chest tightened as I drove down Harlem, I knew a mistake was being made. See, high school was no high point for me, and traumatic memories came flooding back as I drove, making me feel like I am not as healed as I thought I was. So, I turned right, got on the 90, and headed towards Carey’s house.
Evening found me sitting on her porch overlooking the Niagara River with my husband and friends, and feeling happy. Much happier, and much more myself, than I would have felt at that reunion.
Save my close friends, those girls don’t know me. Many of them barely tried when I was right in front of their face, so why should anyone try now? I used to worry about reunions because of my lack of successes. My graduating class is something of a powerhouse, and I have always felt subpar in comparison to them. But then I became an author, and that stopped mattering. Now, apparently, the only thing keeping me from reuniting is bad memories.
Anyway, I think I’m going to ask Chelsea and Jaime if they want to get dinner sometime soon, and perhaps a couple of the other girls that I do wish to see, because I did have good friends that I miss. Still, it is hard for me to separate the good part of my high school experience from the bad part. Perhaps I need another 20 years.