I'm not going to my high school reunion. I had actually planned to--oddly enough. But there's a conflict of dates and, well, the job wins (paycheck and all, you know). But I'm strangely disappointed that I can no longer attend. Odd indeed.
High school was pretty much four years of hell for me--five if you factor in the fact that I started RVA in 8th grade and therefore "high school" was nothing more than a dorm move and the privilege of staying out until 7:15. Wee junior highers had a curfew of 7pm. However, it has recently been brought to my attention that just about everyone was miserable. No one really enjoyed high school. Even those on the rugby team who have declared those years as the Best of Years of Their Lives. I say, Bullshit. You were fooling yourself then and you're lying to yourself now.
When we first started chattering about a reunion my first thought was, well...have fun. I won't be there, but you all enjoy yourselves. Late nights reminiscing over scrapbooks and field hockey scars. Knock yourselves out. Then I thought about it some more. And I decided that I would go--if for no other reason than to lay around in a two piece bathing suit. I was, um, rather large the last time most of these people saw me and, um, so clueless when it came to clothes and what looked good. It was sad. And the two ton chip I insisted on carrying around on my shoulder most likely did little to add to my attractiveness. It was remnants of that chip that propelled the decision. Yes, show up and show them. I am in far better shape and in much, much smaller jeans than I was at 17. And that 17-year-old wanted to cause a little ruckus. I blame her rebellious behavior on Bon Jovi.
I didn't date back then. No one did really. It was boarding school with rules and regulations. We had to have our bathing suits inspected prior to our senior trip to Mombasa--no two pieces, nothing too high or too low, preferably without holes in the knees. One was either single or attached at the hands with the boyfriend o' the term. Me? I had a total of one "boyfriend". It was when I first arrived. The relationship was short lived even by middle school standards. The death of the relationship was the moment just prior to what was supposed to be the first kiss. My first kiss. Ever. I knew it was coming--two laps around the lower rugby field clued me in. But just at that moment--I choked. Couldn't do it. I wanted to tell him why...I was nervous, scared, never been kissed and all that, but I think what actually came out was something like, "Uh, nuh-uh" and a shake of the head. (The look of horror on my face was apparently so repulsive that it wasn't until our senior year that we actually managed to speak more than two words to each other.) I was the girl the guys talked to to get the 411 on another girl. And I wanted to show one or two--or three--of those that so cluelessly broke my poor little heart that I turned out Hot. So there.
Then, over the past several months, the strangest thing happened. Somewhere along the way my reasons for wanting to attend the reunion changed. I blame facebook. And the blogosphere. Usual suspects, I'm sure. However, in this case it's true. Over the course of the past year, year and a half, I have gotten to know former classmates in a way that I never did before. And the oddest thing--I like them. Most of them. The one that has ignored my friend request for the past two months can kiss my booty. I was only trying to be nice. Whatever. So I started to look forward to the reunion. Even made some small attempt to help plan (sorry, Melanie!). I wanted to look at everyone's scrapbooks. I wanted to sit and remember interms and Senior Safari. Make fun of Hagerman's lame attempt to teach Swahili. Laugh about the cattle crossing sign Mr. Wilson put up on the walkway to the senior girls' dorm. Just be with this group of people who all have that Thing in common--that Thing that sets us apart and marks us as "not being from around here". Third Culture Kids. Global Nomads. There's a freedom in being together--the freedom of not having to explain any of it. The freedom of not having to answer the stupid questions (yes, there are stupid questions). Amongst ourselves we're all normal. And, at times, I crave normality.
I suppose I'll have to settle for waiting another five years. I can stay in shape until then.