Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reconnecting with the Past

Cape Cod Weather today: Still pitch black - no sign of even the slightest glimmer of sunrise. Not a good sign for the day. It's already been raining for 3 or 4 days straight, and the pool is so full it's up over the edges...

I went to my high school reunion over the weekend. I went back to New Jersey. On purpose.

I haven't been back there or spoken to anyone since we graduated, really. My parents moved to Vermont when I was a freshman in college. I kept in touch with one or two people - then my best friend died and I didn't want to go anywhere near anything or anyone who reminded me of her.

But another friend called and needled me into it. "If I can go back from Kansas, you can come too," she told me. "My mom still lives in town - stay at my house!"

So I did.

I didn't take my husband or kids with me, I just went. Two other friends met us at this girl's house as well, so there were four of us who walked into the event together, leaving our husbands and kids and current lives somewhere else so we could step back in time for a few hours.

It was fun seeing so many faces from my past - the faces don't really change. The hair changes, the body gets fatter or thinner, but the eyes remain the same (even on the guys who now wear glasses!) The restaurant had a huge outdoor deck with a bar, and dim lighting so as to soften the wrinkles on all our aging faces. It helped. As did the wine and beer, mellowing our fears and smoothing the fractures of time. Making it easier to talk about our kids without feeling obligated to whip out photos, letting people share the sorrow of divorce and loss without the harsh light of day...

Was it worth a total of 10 hours of driving, through pouring rain both days? Worth the $55 admission price, plus hostess gifts, plus gas? Worth all the stress of going through my closet, repeatedly, trying to figure out what to wear that wouldn't make me self-conscious?

Yeah, it was worth it. I would totally recommend going back for your reunion to anyone who asks. High school looms large in the fears of many, as a time in their past when everyone else had it all together while they themselves had no clue. At least, that was me. But come to find out, everyone else felt pretty much the same way. And 25 years later, we've all figured out who we want to be and are there or on our ways to getting there on our own. It was fun to share that with people who are at the same stage of life, going through similar things.

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