Cool People and High School Reunions

It seems like only cool people attend high school reunions, but that’s just my opinion. 

I went to my 10th High School Reunion this past Friday night. I could hardly believe it, I graduated high school 10 years ago. Time flies, doesn’t it?

The high school was completely unrecognizable. The main building is HUGE and I mean it. I’m still trying to figure out how people can get to their classrooms in 5 minutes. Unless your next class is next door, I don’t think you’ll have time to chat between classes.

The reunion was held in the cafeteria. When I first saw the view, I thought, did someone moved the mountain? It looked huge. I wished I had this view at home.

There were about 60 people attending, about 10%, maybe 20% of the entire class. I recognized some of them. The ones I didn’t recognize, he/she probably changed too much.

You want to know the sad part? Hardly anyone recognized me. It made me feel like a loser standing there alone with a smile pasted on my face while everyone else was genuinely smiling and deeply engrossed in conversations with people they haven’t seen in who knows whether it’s a day, a week, a month, a year, or 10 years.

I began to feel like this was a mistake. Why am I even here? This wasn’t a place for a nobody like me. I had no friends. I wasn’t a part of any clubs or teams or anything. I was merely a shadow, invisible – I knew almost everyone but no one knew me.

Dinner was served – rice, macaroni salad, teriyaki chicken, and salad. For dessert, apple pie, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and cookies.

I sat down across from the only guy who came and said hi to me -Brian. He came with his wife. He looked familiar but I could be mistaken. He had one of those faces, you know. It turned out he was in the orchestra in high school. He thought I was too. He asked if I played the flute. I mentally snorted a laugh. I can’t even inflate a balloon; how could I had played the flute?

We chatted for a little while – about what we do now for work and where is home. Turned out we were both accountants. “I love numbers.” I said and seconds after that, I felt like an idiot. What kind of loser says those words?

Awkwardly, I switched to another topic of conversation which was definitely worse than saying “I love numbers.” I asked, “If you could do high school all over again, what would you change about the experience?”

“Nothing,” he said right away. Nothing? I thought. Really? “What about you?”

“I would take everything slower,” I replied. “I would do more extracurricular activities – join a club, a team, or something. I felt like I rushed through high school, you know.” He and his wife nodded.

Honestly, I do want to experience high school again. I want to experience high school at a slower pace that didn’t involve going to college at night or summer school even though I didn’t need it or parents fighting 24/7 over some mindless problem as who dirtied up the kitchen. Maybe I do want experience high school again like a normal teenager.

And just like that, the conversation dissolved as two other people (whom I don’t remember seeing in the yearbook) joined the table. He called himself a “band geek”.

I got up and excused myself from the table and headed for the dessert table. I thought about leaving right then since, well, no one recognized me and the only person who volunteered to converse with me seemed to do so out of pity.

Didn’t I mention? A girl named Rachel, of course I knew her (she was the President? Vice President?), she was popular back in the days but did she knew me? I don’t think so. We didn’t even have the same classes together. We might had bumped into each other in between classes but we never said two words to each other. She was the one who headed straight for me when she arrived and greeted me cheerfully with a “Hey!”

“Hi,” I replied.

“How have you been? What do you do now?” She said.

“I’m fine, working in accounting.” I said with an awkward smile on my face. “How about you?”

“I have three kids, so I’m a stay-at-home mom.”

“Wow, t-that’s great.” Good for you, I wanted to say but wasn’t sure whether it was something people say to someone with three kids with one more on the way as I later learned and at age 28, that’s got to be some kind of record.

Anyway, I indulged myself with a slice of Lattice Apple Pie at the dessert table while contemplated on whether I should take my pie and return to the table where the “band geeks” were laughing and conversing loudly on subjects I had no relations to because I felt a little foolish balancing the plate of pie on my small accident-prone hand.

“Come over,” Rachel waved at me the moment after I tossed the fork, paper plate, and used-up napkin into the garbage. I was about to head beeline for the hall of graduates – a corridor filled with graduation photos starting from Class of 1989. “I want you to meet someone.” Rachel said when I made my way over to her.

She introduced me to Lindsay and Carly. I knew Lindsay, we were and are friends on Facebook. I added her shortly after high school graduation when I spent a day feverishly “stalking” the people from my graduating class on Facebook. Though we never actually spoke, I sometimes followed Lindsay’s adventures in life.

These are the cool people, I labeled in my mind. What am I doing? Gathering with cool people? This is not right. But then, it dawned on me. Maybe these people have grown up. Maybe these labels – geeks, nerds, losers, cool – don’t apply anymore. Maybe I’m one of those people now. Maybe not seeing each other for 10 years does this to a person – it removes all labels that was associated to that person during their academic careers.

The conversation lasted no less than 5 minutes before the ladies turned to welcome the newcomer, a guy whom I did not recognize because of his weight loss and glasses-free look. Fortunately, before I could make my departure, the host, Trevor, interrupted everyone’s conversation with his loud mic, which also brought the nostalgic 2006-2009 music playlist to a halt.

He thanked everyone for coming before starting a round of trivia – to see if people really knew one another as they did in the high school days. There were a few I recognized but by the time I spoke up, someone got to the answer first.

After the trivia, we gathered for a group photo. It took a while to find the perfect spot for the photo. Being the smallest, I stood at the front holding the cardboard sign with my class number on it – Olympus Class of 2009. The moment the picture was snapped, the group dissolved. People hugged and said goodbye for probably another 10 years while a few others like me toured the school.

After walking the hallways for what felt like 10 minutes, I decided to head home, leaving these memory-less hallways for now. “See you in another 10 years, Olympus High.” I muttered with a small smile as I walked to my car.

16 thoughts on “Cool People and High School Reunions

  1. This is so well written. It’s kind of pitiful, isn’t it? Not you, but how some people stay the same. I have never had any desire to go back to a reunion as the people I do want to know, I am in touch with. And I pictured a similar scenario as yours. Cliques. But I hope as you had some time to think over it, you understand and appreciate where you ARE at in life. My guess is you are pretty smart. With success, and direction in hand, it’s YOUR turn to take life a little slower. Find a travel or hiking buddy. Live and love the life you deserve. I loved the wisdom of your post. There IS a message🤗 have a good week. PS. I love numbers too, and don’t think it’s awkward 😉. Everything is relative.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks and I agree, everything is relative. I think I might had been too optimistic when I went to the reunion, too hopeful I could maybe make a friend or two but I did picture cliques in my mind before I went.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Your school really looks pretty, and that mountain view is beautiful!
    I’m glad you got to go to the reunion. I’ve never been to any of ours, and they just had I think the 50th! haha! I’ve only kept up with a couple of people from back then. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I attended a very small high school. There were only 19 of us. I went into the service directly after graduation and I didn’t return for 40 years. By that time nearly half were already dead.

    Maybe what postponed my return for so many years was when my 20th came around a friend urged me to join him while he attended his 20th. But I was service manager at a car dealer, had a wife, a mortgage, and a houseful of kids. I begged off and waited to hear his critique.

    “How was it?” I asked after awaiting two long weeks for his return. “It was awful. Those people are OLD!”

    So 20 more years passed. I returned for my 40th only to discover I had little in common with the school teachers, truck drivers, bnkers, and farmers who had suvived the test of time.


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