The high school re­union strikes fear...

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LIVING -

As if we’re not stressed-out enough, how about go­ing to the high school re­union. Es­pe­cially if some num­ber of decades have passed since be­ing a teenager. Novem­ber is a big re­union month for many, and this is how it was for me this week . . .

Should I go? Shouldn’t I go? Why would I go, why wouldn’t I go? Go­ing is dumb, go­ing is fun, go­ing is scary, go­ing is con­nect­ing, go­ing is wast­ing my pre­cious time and God knows we don’t have much of that left, go­ing is laugh­ing when laugh­ing came from the bot­tom of our souls (even if we didn’t know what a soul was), go­ing is ex­haust­ing, go­ing is hon­or­ing the past, go­ing is look­ing back­ward in­stead of forg­ing ahead, go­ing is a once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity, go­ing is rum­mag­ing through an old year­book and read­ing, “Be care­ful in the fu­ture and if you’re not, name it after me.” Do I really need to see that guy?

Do I really need to see any­body? If I didn’t see them in decades, I don’t need to see them now. I don’t look good enough. They don’t look good enough. They’ll make me feel old. They’ll look like my par­ents and my par­ents are dead. They’ll look like what I really look like and I pre­fer to be­lieve we’re frozen in time.

If we’re not, I won’t rec­og­nize any­body. And no­body will rec­og­nize me. I’ll get stuck pre­tend­ing I know peo­ple when they tell me they slept over my house in baby doll pa­ja­mas and we both kissed the same boy. Lots of peo­ple prob­a­bly kissed him, that cute gym­nast, but I don’t want to know about it. I don’t want to tell who else I kissed ei­ther.

Be­sides, I’ll be too ner­vous, jumpy, jit­tery. I’ll walk in and we’ll all start scream­ing. I’m wor­ried we’ll scream just to scream, we won’t have any idea what we’re scream­ing about es­pe­cially be­cause we won’t re­mem­ber who we’re scream­ing with. I’m wor­ried my throat will rupture, I’ll laugh too hard to breathe, I’ll need my asthma in­haler.

I’m wor­ried some­thing stupid will hap­pen be­fore the event, like I’ll break my wrist (which I did), and I’ll look all washed up. I want ev­ery­one to re­mem­ber me as I was, or as I pre­tended I was, be­fore wrin­kles, rolls, age spots, gray hair, den­tal work. Be­fore we had kids and mates and ca­reers and even cars, and bad stuff hap­pened. Lots of bad stuff.

But so much good stuff too. So very much good stuff. But was it enough? Would go­ing make me feel how much I ac­com­plished, or how lit­tle? Would I leave feel­ing bet­ter about my­self or worse? Would I leave be­liev­ing those were the best years of my life, if I could only re­mem­ber them more. If only I hadn’t done so many stupid things that some­how other peo­ple do re­mem­ber.

And when all was said and done, when all the pros and cons were aired and weighed, I went. I fi­nally went. And I did re­mem­ber . . .

Re­mem­bered when we were so young and still are, when we had so much fun and still do, when we were all in this to­gether and still are, and that we are so lucky to be here, so lucky, be­cause some of us didn’t make it this far. Like that

cute gym­nast I kissed.

I went to cel­e­brate the good times, those in­no­cent and silly times, those pre­cious times that helped make us who we are to­day. To sa­vor the full­ness of life, ev­ery sin­gle as­pect. That’s why I went. I went to sim­ply re­mem­ber.

Ev­ery­thing else, I fi­nally re­al­ized, was just wa­ter over the dam.

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