It's been 20 years and I can't breathe.
Maybe it's because I just really can't believe it. I've been involved in the process, unhelpful as I may have been throughout, offering little more than snarky remarks and moral support and reminders that our drinks are almost empty. But I can't really believe it's today. Like today - today.
Maybe it's because this weekend is upon us, this weekend of hundred plus degree weather that's been dragging on forrrrevvvverrrr and seems like it will never end. The heat is like Satan's-testicles-in-pleather-pants-hot. I'm not a fan.
Maybe it's because my Spanx are too tight.
I entered this 20th class reunion idea very reluctantly. It took long reflections and purging of baggage and dealing with the inevitable responses I got from both The Hubs and The Bestie, which were, essentially, identical:
"But...I thought you hated high school."
Yes. Sort of true. So to not only resign myself to attending but to also helping to plan this event was way outside my comfort zone. To be fair, it began with a bit of a distress signal, one that suggested we might not have one at all unless someone stepped up and made it happen. Those who did made sure that the "committee", if we can call it that (my throat closes up when I say that) merely represented anyone who chose to show at the designated time and place to make that night's decisions. Nobody more important than another, you could come or go as you wished.
And somehow, this ragtag bunch of bitches has managed to put together what seems like might turn out to be three days of something worthwhile.
I'm shocked. Except I'm not.
I certainly don't deserve to lump myself in the same category as those who have put in more effort, but I'm glad to have participated, for sure. It was like "exposure therapy" in psychotherapy world...where I could slowly get used to the idea before jumping in headlong, an idea that it's now becoming evident as we get closer that not everyone is on board with. Had I not joined in with this group, would I have been one of those who are left thumbing their noses at this gathering, still schlepping around their harbored hatreds and issues from two decades ago?
I might have had some not so great memories, but the good really do outweigh the bad, and the people? Let's talk about the people.
They're the keepers of our secrets, the only ones who really understood us when our lame-o parents just didn't get it. They loved us through terrible skin and piece of shit cars. We duked it out for first chair flute, first string quarterback, head cheerleader, and first place for the science projects nobody wanted to do. They've been our backup singers, our personal stylists, our heroes, our shoulders to cry on. They shared their lunches, their clothes, their books, their hairspray, and their hearts. They have the most embarrassing pictures of us, and they never judged us. We watched a Space Shuttle fall out of the sky together and they took on the bulk of cat dissection when the teacher wasn't looking so we wouldn't have to. Sometimes, they made us cry. But for any tears, there was a thousand times more laughter.
Whatever life had to hand us, these were the people that were there during some pretty important years.
That's why I'm taking my shorties along to help out with some festivities. They are at that age where they just.cannot.imagine. a time in life where they don't see their friends all.the.time. Our neighborhood is crawling with kids from their school, or summer would be just.too.unbearable. Seeing them and their daily hookup with buddies takes me back to the days when weekends were just too long to go without seeing my friends, the ones who lived, you know...like two whole blocks away. Torture.
I'm so glad for the FB world and the ability to reach those same two whole blocks away friends who live MUCH further away today, because deep down we're just the same geeky kids that were awkward and lived too far away from "town" for anything fun except to hang out with each other and crimp our hair or trying not to maim ourselves taking shortcuts through barbed wire fences, because...well...two blocks in the Orchards is a LONG WAY. And I still love the bajonkies out of those people.
So, to honor those THIRTEEN years (and not just two or three), we will converge tonight upon this town, not nearly enough of a representative group for the size of our original class, but my hope is that when those who are there get word out about what a great time they had reconnecting with each other, the rest will want to show up in another ten years.
Or not. Either way..."The Committee" is officially done and due a drink or two for their efforts. Cheers to that.