I’m one of those odd people who really enjoyed my fifteen-year high school reunion, in fact, it was much more enjoyable than my ten-year reunion. I sort of came into my own during those five years, going from a semi-miserable, semi-unemployed 28-year-old semi-loser, to a generally well-put-together 33-year-old career woman, one who was married to an objectively hunky guy with a respectable job.So, it’s amazing what a little success in life will do to your willingness to meet with people you only vaguely remember from homeroom English.
At the ten year mark, my friend Jillian had to browbeat me into attending the dinner. She really, really wanted to go, because she had lost a ton weight since high school, like sixty pounds, and she wanted to show off to mean girls and backbiters who’d made her life miserable in 11th grade. So, I helped her pick out a homecoming dress, and I went to the reunion out of solidarity with Jillian, even though I wasn’t any thinner, and if anything probably less successful than I’d been a decade earlier. (At least in high school, I thought, I hadn’t failed to live up to my potential yet.) I ended up having more fun than I thought I would, but only because my friend Karl showed up flamboyantly gay, having come out of the closet sometime during his junior year of college. Without his catty remarks about fallen cheerleaders and beer-bellied former athletes, the evening would have been a loss.
Cut to five years later and I’m eagerly picking out a homecoming dress, thinking to myself that I HAD finally begun to live up to my potential, and that it was my turn to show off a little. And I had an unexpectedly great time. Karl was in rare form. Jillian was engaged to a good guy, and the fallen cheerleaders had metamorphed into moderately decent people, mellowed by age and the humbling effects of the wider world.