Drama Creative Nonfiction

Short story by Jujus Pearls

High school reunion – These three words cast a magic spell. It’s a moment of celebration, which many a hearts yearn for, and do preparations for the same. For few, it’s a happy trip down the memory lane. For some, it’s an occasion to be completely avoided. There is one class of middle benchers who are happy go lucky kind of souls who end up everywhere.

Steve was a healthy boy who was a favorite of his kindergarten teachers. He was good in academics and took part in all extra-curricular activities. He was popular in class. As puberty changes started, he developed a liking for girls and wanted to spend more time with them. Gradually he started withdrawing from his boys group. His keen interest in girl talks and their pubertal changes irked many of his class mates. A complaint was lodged with the class teacher. Steve was left with a strict warning and was ordered to stay with the boys of the class. From a happy, focused child, he became a withdrawn introvert. To take things in control, his parents changed his school. But his heart was in his old school. He took admission again in next session. This time he seemed confident and happy. He had long hair, just like pop stars and always smiled. Pubertal changes were missing in him, which normally happens in boys of his age. He had silky smooth facial skin and there was no sign of any beard/ moustache. Everyone labels him as a case of delayed puberty and never bothered him. High school period came to an end. Everyone exchanged their slam books, and left with a promise to be in touch for the rest of their lives.

Fast forward, ten years. In some place is western world, a glamorous top model walks down the fashion show ramp with utmost grace and poise. The crowd is cheering madly and calling her name “Stevie”. Suddenly, the journalist (Alan) in the first row who is there to cover the fashion show wakes up from his trance. This name sounds familiar. He scratches his head and fails to remember and pin point the connection. The next model walks down the ramp and so on the show goes on. At the post show dinner, he meets with Stevie and is totally bestowed by her beauty. There is a sense of faint familiarity. Thinking it to be alcohol after effect, the journalist goes home. Before going home, he exchanges his mobile number with Stevie.

Next morning, Alan wakes up with a severe headache and is unable to get Stevie out of his mind. He prepares black coffee and sits on his working desk. Scrolling through internet, he is unable to procure information beyond ten years. This sets him thinking, that there was some mysterious past of Stevie. The more he tries to kick Stevie out of his mind; the thought comes back like a boomerang. He makes up his mind to dig out the past. He starts dating Stevie over coffee or movies. Somehow, Alan is unable to go beyond the dry good night. He is more determined and decides to check her apartment in her absence. On a routine coffee visit to her house, he manages to get her house keys impression and gets a duplicate key made. Once she is away on a weekend shoot to a distant place. Alan stealthily enters her house and begins his search. There is no record of her childhood/ school days. As he was about to abandon his search, an old album drops form the top shelf. Immediately, he recognizes it to be his school album. He glances through school class pictures. He is spellbound by what he sees. This was his class picture. He could recognize himself, but there was no face similar to Stevie. Alan takes out his magnifying glass and scans through all children faces. He finds a striking resemblance with Steve. Chain of thoughts cloud his mind, is she Steve’s twin sister or is she Steve himself?

He stumbles, gets up and leaves the house. A notification icon on his mobile breaks his trance. There is a mail from High school Alumina group informing about the high school reunion in a week’s time, Alan is perplexed by the recent discovery. He texts Stevie, requesting her to be his date for the reunion. There is no reply. He impatiently waits for Stevie’s return. Unable to hold the suspense any longer, Alan goes to the airport arrival lounge to pick Stevie. She seems visibly impressed by his gesture and smiles. They drive to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Alan pops up the question about his high school reunion. She stops eating in the middle and excuses herself to go the restroom. She goes to her house. Alan patiently waits for half an hour at the lunch table. He requests the lady staff to check the ladies restroom. To his dismay, there is no one in the restroom. For the next few days, he is unable to contact Stevie as she had blocked him.

His fears seem to be coming true. He gathers all his courage and goes to see her at her house. After much perusal, she opens the main door. The sight Alan sees is heart rendering. Stevie is standing in front of him with swollen eyes, her eye makeup had smudged all over her cheek, her hair was unkempt and she was sobbing. His heart tore and he hugged her tightly in his embrace. Slowly she looks up and remarks, “Alan, I had a crush on you since kindergarten. Do you remember Steve? The boy who enjoyed Girl Company, changed school, returned back and became an introvert!”

 Alan was silently listening, waiting for her to continue and complete. She continued, “Alan I am Steve! Do you still love me?”The ground below Alan’s feet seemed to give way and he lost his balance. His eyes popped out in disbelief, “Stevie, you are the same old Steve, now a top model! Oh gosh! I fear this.”

There was a period of few minutes’ silence which seemed like eternity. Finally, Alan spoke, “So, that’s the reason you were avoiding the High school reunion? Now I understand your inhibition. Well, I respect this and promise that we will never let the past spoil our present. Will you be my date Stevie for the high school reunion? “

Stevie smiles shyly and gives an affirmative answer. Post dinner, she reveals about the difficulties she faced due to her inclination towards being a female. So, she left her hometown and settled in distant place. Got her required surgery and gave herself a new identity. Both of them locked their hands and looked up to God. High school reunion here we come, Alan with his date Stevie. Identity of Steve was left out and everyone enjoyed reunion. Alan was eager to show off his most beautiful date. Stevie never wanted to be recognized as Steve and enjoyed as his date.

September 28, 2020 18:47

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