I rolled out of bed that morning to get ready for work. Ding! I reached into my pocket for my phone.
An email floated on my screen, “High School Reunion- TEN Years!”
My eyes glossed over my screen for a while, daydreaming of peoples’ reactions to me. NOPE, not doing it.
I started to slide on my skirt, tuck in my button up shirt and put my blazer on. But, what if the man you are meant to marry is an old classmate. NOPE, can’t do it.
I opened the email again and started to read. Nope, nope, nope.
“Click here to RSVP.” My hand hovered over the RSVP button. Do you remember when the people you sat with ignored you? I fussed with my brown curly locks in the bathroom mirror. Is it worth proving to my old classmates that I’m not that ‘loser’ they once remember?
I walked to the kitchen to pour some cereal. CLANK! CLANG! The spoon and bowl hit the counter. Do you remember how your dad begged you to make friends so you joined soccer? No, you don’t. Girls would snicker, ‘She’s too skinny;’ ‘She must have anorexia.’
The bitter cereal filled my mouth. Crunch, crunch, crunch..cruuuuuuunch. DING! I flipped my phone face down. I can’t handle this right now, I don’t care who’s messaging me. I took two more bites of my cereal and dumped the rest out. Why is this bothering me so much? I continued to collect my things for work.
I slipped my black leather pumps and walked out the door. My thoughts attacked me as I began to get into my shiny red car. What about that time that you were applying for colleges and teachers forgot who you were when writing referral letters? THAT was pretty funny. I chuckled and tucked my hair behind my right ear. Do I want to see those guys that threw food at me at the end of lunch every day? I should go just to give them a middle finger, HA!
I walked into my tattered brick office building, greeting everyone as each person gave me a half smile in the way in. Have you responded to the high school reunion invite yet? I entered the elevator, bumping multiple people on my way in.
An older woman nudged me, “Well, excuse yourself.”
“I’m so sorry. I just..”
“You just, what?”
The air grew thick. Each breath felt shallow. “I’m sorry, have a nice day.”
I better hurry up and get to work. No more of this, ‘should I go to the 10 year reunion nonsense’.
DING! I stepped off the elevator at my floor. I walked with urgency to my office. A tall, brown-haired, brown eyed woman was sitting in my office smiling at me. “Daisy! What’re you doing in my office?”
“We have a meeting in ten minutes, figured we’d chat for the time-being.”
“So, did you get the invite?”
My hands started sweating and chest tightened as I fumbled on my words. “Of course I did, I’m not going.”
“But why? You and I could dance, just like we always did in high school?” Daisy stood up and crouched low, butt up in the air, bouncing up and down, reenacting how their dancing would look.
I shifted my eyes and tucked my hair behind my ear. “Ha ha, no. That’s not me anymore. Besides, do you remember when I had food thrown at me? What about when I got booed at the talent show? Do you think I want to see those people again?”
“Girl, you met ME in high school, remember that. When food was thrown at you, I confronted those people. When you were booed, I was standing and clapping. Therefore, you and I will go to this reunion.”
“You’re right. We did meet in high school. But..”
“No.Nope, we’re going.” She reached over to my phone and clicked ‘yes’ in the email.
I buried my face in my arms on my desk. “I don’t think I can do this. I can’t believe you’re making me do this.” She reached over, put her hand on my back , smiled and left my office.
I spent the whole day at work thinking about how the reunion was this weekend and I just never pictured myself confronting any of my high school classmates again.
When I got home I threw my shoes off, threw my blazer on the floor and laid on the couch. I reached over to get my phone. Hmm..A text I haven’t looked at yet. Weird, an unknown number.
“Jackie- Are you going to the reunion? It has been too long. I hope to see you there. If you decide to go, please meet me by the punch bowl by 5:30.”
WHAT?? I definitely can’t go. I have some weirdo texting me from an unknown number trying to track me down. No, nope. I’m going to text Daisy and tell her I’m no longer going. But..what if..
Daisy was my only friend in high school. She was the one that made my high school life better. I must hold my promise and go to this reunion tomorrow.
The next day came quickly. I got dressed in a dress early in the day, the anxious energy jolted throughout my body. This isn’t a big deal, why do I have to make it a big deal? I ate whatever I could find in my house. Daisy kept texting me asking me how I was doing and I remained reluctant to go. You can do this, you have your best friend.
I spent most of the day watching TV and scrolling on social media on my phone, in search of a distraction.
Ding dong! Daisy arrived at my apartment wearing a purple dress and a glimmering smile.
“Hurry up! We are going to be late!”
I laughed and playfully slapped her arm. “You need to give me time. I’m almost done.”
I quickly finished doing my hair and putting my makeup on. When I stepped out into the living room, Daisy was dancing around with music blasting.
“I’m prepping you for tonight.”
“It’s only 4:30.”
“I sense you need more than this to get you through tonight.” She gave me a shot of whiskey. “Take a sip.”
WIthout hesitation I grabbed the shot and threw it back. Ahhh. I winced. “Ok, you’re driving, lets go.”
The drive was filled with music and laughing. I remember reaching the school building and suddenly, I was not worried. I had my best friend. We walked in shoulder to shoulder.
Once in the building, music was blasting and everyone was standing around talking. Daisy pulled me aside and started dancing. I laughed with her as I bopped my head up and down.
“Daisy, I’m going to go get food.”
I approached the punch bowl. A tall, slender man was standing there, smiling, pointing to me. I walked toward him. Is this a mirage?
He said my name. I must walk forward. The fog from the small amount of alcohol in my system began to clear. “Parker!” I shouted loud enough that everyone in the vicinity of the punch bowl turned around.
“Did you forget about me?”
“YOU! Were you the one to text me?”
I walked closer to him. “
So you got my text.”
He stood with his body leaning against the snack table. “Did you forget about me?”
A slanted smile stretched across his face. “Well of course I do, it’s been 10 years, like you said.”
“You’ve lost quite a bit of weight.”
“Yes, yes I have. I was so close to not coming tonight.”
“I was called ‘Pudgey Parker’, ‘Piggy Parker’, I was booed at, mocked. But, I am here.”
“I wanted to thank you. You are the reason I got through high school.”
“When I was mocked, I saw how you responded to being made fun of and thought how strong you were and knew I could get through. You may not know it, but the day you paid for my lunch because I forgot my money, made my day. You are the reason I showed up to this stupid 10 year reunion.”
I smiled, reached out, hugged him and asked him to dance with me.
That night, Daisy, Alan and I danced away those four years of bad memories