I had almost forgotten about it, until one day I see a golden envelope sliding under my door. I get it in my hand and turn it around. ‘Class of 2009’ is written neatly on the front. I sigh of boredom as I open it and take out the invitation. Reunion. How nice.
“That is an event I’ll be avoiding at all costs.” At least that’s what I’ve said to Maggie when we were on the final year of high school, one day talking throughout a break.
And I believe I’ll keep my word. We haven’t even finished the year, and most were already making plans how we’d be on the reunion.
High school for me was a bit of a nightmare with some doses of normality. You see, I was not a top athlete, nor a pretty face or school’s most popular and maybe president, to have a cool time in high school. So, most of the time I was spending it in the library, where the people who visit it are counted on the fingers of one hand.
My phone’s ringing brings me back from my thoughts. It’s Maggie.
“Did you get it?” she asks full of expectation before I could even say hello.
“What are you going to wear?”
“I don’t think I’m going…”
“WHAT? Are you insisting on that crap you said that day? Really…”
“Is not that, only. You know how bad I am at social gatherings, why this to be different?”
“Because HE will he there.” Maggie says from the other end of the line, and I bet she has that playful smile on her face. “Aren’t you curious to see how he is now?”
Of course, he will be. The highlight of the year.
Stephen was a deviously handsome pain in the neck. And he knew it. Top volleyball player, top student, with a face and physique that could only be sculpted by the gods. That jawline oh his could cut you even by looking at it.
The first day of my final year in high school we exchanged some very non-complementary words. I was trying to be polite and nice, and he was a natural ass, so I told him back. The rest, you can imagine. And what better could I ask for, when I enter the classroom and I see him right in front of me.
The first couple of months were terrible. He was ruffling feathers every time a teacher was asking me a question. At first, I thought that maybe I had given a wrong answer but then he kept doing that even if my answer was a hundred percent correct. He was so annoying! Long story short, we had established our sentiments for each other, that were nothing else that hate and disgust.
When December came, the school announced the tournaments that will start beginning of the year, so any interested students should declare their sport in order to form teams etc. I was good in tennis, however there was not going to be a tournament on that since there was no other participation from another school.
One day, the sports teacher asked me to try for the handball team, he said I have strength in my arms. I went for the trials and managed to get the position of the goalkeeper. I remember the look on his face when the sports teacher came during lecture and asked for me because we would start training.
Christmas break was here. I was so happy that finally I’ll have some time to relax, away from high-school drama and a particular person that causes it.
One night, I was going to the movies with some classmates from the art class. At some point my phone was buzzing, so I got out to answer it, and bumped into Stephen. I literary fell on him. He greets me and I realize he’s with a girl that introduced herself as his girlfriend. We exchange pleasantries and I go back. It felt strange, having him talking to me like a normal person but I’m sure he did that because his girlfriend was in front.
The holidays are over, and school starts again. And I might have believed that miracles happen, and Christmas spirit has done it. Every morning he greets me, accompanied by a nod of his head. Maggie was not a believer until one day she was right next to me, when Stephen enters the building and says good morning to me. She was on cloud nine, but I prefer to keep my feet on the ground. As much as I want to believe it, this is not Stephen. Something’s up.
His new behaviour continues. One night, a classmate had invited the whole class to her birthday party at a club. Although at first, I was super stressed about how packed will be in there, the good thing is that she had reserved the whole club for her, so it was only us. Splendid!
I was having nice time, sitting on a couch, enjoying my drink and cigarette. Stephen was on the bar stools further down, smocking cigars with his close friends that were in our class also. At some point, Maggie comes to me and sits on the couch.
“What happened between the two of you and you haven’t told me yet?” she asks aloud.
“What do you mean? Nothing happened!”
“He doesn’t get his eyes of you! Don’t you see?”
I turn to where he is sitting. His back is turned to me.
“He doesn’t see me. He’s sitting with his back at me. You must be mistaken.”
“Oh, don’t you try this on me little one! All night is turning and looks at your way. There was no one else sitting here except you. I told you he likes you!”
After that night, he kept looking at me and during lectures. I was always sitting at the very back of the room so, he was always choosing a seat further up and on the opposite site so he could turn and sit with his back on the sidewall. The rest of the girls sitting on my direction were going crazy, especially since the news that he broke up came out. I don’t deny it, I liked his attention, but I knew something was wrong.
School’s volleyball team went to the final, where we won. After the match, he even came to give me his shirt. I could feel the eyes of the other girls, throwing daggers at me. This kept going for the rest of the year until about two weeks before the school year end.
One day I was passing outside the boys changing rooms and I heard them all. I was the bet he and his friends had taken. As he had already dated all the girls in school, except those in long-term relationships, I was the only one left. What better that the new girl?
A part of me felt good because I was right about his sudden change in behaviour towards me. However, a part of me felt terrible and it was my fault. I had let myself enjoy that game of his, more than what was allowed. On the next break I stayed in class, thinking about how I should tell him. When I turn and see him walking to sit next to me, I think that is the time.
I told him everything. He didn’t deny it. He apologized and we kept it cool. His only question was if I would want to date him after all that happened, if they were true. I haven’t answered that question ever. It still troubles me. Although I knew something was fake about it, his eyes were telling exactly the opposite from a point onwards. Maybe he felt something along the way?
Maggie’s screaming brings me back from my memories.
“Hello? Are you there?”
“Yes, please stop screaming.”
“Guess what! You’re coming with me to the reunion. He will be there, and he’s been asking about you lately. Nick told me. So, cut the crap about everything you might try to say as an excuse. I don’t buy it.”
We hang up and I remain with the invitation at hand, gazing out of the window. Will he still be waiting for an answer after so many years?