The Herald, July 2015
Ten years. It was ten years since I graduated from high school. I was not planning on attending the reunion. Why spend money to sit around with kids I never hung around with anyway? Then I got the phone call.
“So, are you coming? It’ll be great! No – you have to come!”
“Oh, alright,” I caved. “I’ll dig up the $25 for the dinner and go. See you there.” Last minute decisions. I hate them. Looking through my closet I can’t seem to find the right outfit. It’s not formal, so that leaves the door open for everything from a cocktail dress to jeans. Okay, this LBD will have to do. Not too short, not too tight. Shower, makeup, hair, all done – let’s go.
Only on the other side of the county I get there in a half hour. I park, walk in, and was greeted by a few girls at the reception table. I am handed my name badge. We exchange the usual ‘great to see you again.’ Honestly, I don’t remember them. I was an excellent student, but I hung around with the wild crowd. Always wanting to belong, I had that ‘I have arrived feeling’ the night I was invited to the Friday night gathering at the bleachers. This was the wild crowd. I was a nerd. I had arrived. In the 70’s you had the nerds, the discos and the wild crowd. I happily crossed over from the nerds to the wild ones.
I found a couple girls I knew and joined their table. The music was fairly loud and the booze was already flowing. I ordered a Jack Daniels and ginger ale and tool a big gulp. Ahh, relief, I started to unwind. A couple more of these and I might actually enjoy the night. I gab a little: great to see you, you look fabulous, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Amazingly, I started to pick people out. There’s Thomas. I am surprised he was still alive. He was very wild and now he is a lawyer. Boy, he cleaned up well. There’s Debbie, I can’t believe my eyes! She was as quiet as a mouse in school and now she resembles the jewelry box ballerina in that frou-frou dress. Drinking like a fish, too. Time for me to make a bathroom run and get a refill myself.
I was just coming out of the ladies room when I heard someone call my name. Again, and then a third time. I recognized the voice, but none of the faces that were near me. Finally a man came up to me and asked if I remembered him. I guess he could tell I was stumped.
“It’s me, Richie,” he said. Well, knock me down! This semi-bald, semi-round, dumpy man was the hunk I dated through high school and a few years after. Wow, did I luck out! When we dated he was a ringer for Al Pacino in Scarface. A real dream. Now he was more like Dom Deluise from Fatso! I smiled, exuberantly, as not to show my shock.
“How great to see you, Richie, you look great,” I responded. “What have you been up to?”
“You are the one who looks great, I shouldn’t have let you get away,” he replied as he tried to hold himself in. He fumbled as he told me he was married and had two boys. When I asked who his bride was, a rather portly woman approached.
“Come on, Richie, they’re waiting,” She demanded. She paused a second and then, realizing who I was, mustered an embarrassed hello, how are you. Slyly, I smiled as she hooked her arm in his. He just rolled his eyes. Sandy was her name. She was my high school rival and back then, was quite beautiful. She had the money, the clothes and hung out with the disco crowd. In class I was never ‘enough’ to be seen with them, and she always wanted to compete with me. She would flirt with Richie and now she smugly clung to him like a tick on a dog. Richie managed to mutter good night as she dragged him away like a bad, little boy.
“Oh, I will,” I exclaimed. Watching the two of them leave I smiled. Yep, she finally won, and thank God she did. I chuckled. I could have ended up with him. I grabbed another drink and sauntered my slim self back into the reunion. Yes, this was definitely worth 25 bucks.