Well, it’s not like I didn’t know this day would come. After a particularly gruesome workout with my trainer, I returned home sweaty, hurtin’, and not in the mood. And what happened to be sitting on my doorstep, you ask?
An invitation to my 10-year high school reunion. Jeez-us.
Honestly, it kind of knocked the wind out of me. Has it really been that long, and furthermore, am I ready to reacquaint myself with former high school crushes that wouldn’t give me the time of day? Maybe, considering I’m gainfully employed and going through a skinny phase.
I’m sure it’s shocking to imagine (note the sarcasm), but I was not the most popular chick in high school. With my shaved-down pixie cut, leather jacket, and green steel-toed Doc Martens, many of my fellow students at Broughton High School, in Raleigh, N.C., made the assumption that I was a raging lesbian.
It wasn’t until my senior year, when I grew my hair out and became the cartoonist for the school paper, that the popular crowd began to recognize my existence. And that’s when I met James — our class president. This would be a complete surprise to him, but he was the secret target of my teenage hormones. James also worked on the school paper, and from day one, I couldn’t help but notice his blond curly hair and genuine smile.
Where I was a solid “C” flunky, slacker president of the Art Club, and a constant smart-ass, James was a straight-A student, extremely active in extracurricular activities, polite, and loved by all. It was like something out of West Side Story — two crazy kids from opposite sides of the track. Except that one of those “crazy kids” was completely oblivious to the fairy tale fabricated in the other one’s head.
I truly mean it when I say that he had no idea about my infatuation, because I played it cool as a cucumber. Being a wannabe punk rock girl, if I would’ve shared anything about my like-like for the class president, my posse would’ve choked on their clove cigarettes. So I treated him like I did everyone else — making cynical quips about his popularity, fake-punching his gut in the cafeteria, and playfully flipping him the bird in the hallway.
When my small senior class finally graduated, it turned out that James was going to Wake Forest University, down the road from my school of choice, North Carolina School of the Arts. In my yearbook, James wrote a sweet little paragraph and alluded to the idea of us hanging out that next year since we were going to be in the same town. I read his comment over and over again, trying to decipher any semblance of a hidden meaning. And that’s the last I heard from James.
That is, until a couple months ago, when I received an e-mail from him. He had found me on classmates.com and was in the process of gathering addresses for the reunion invitations. The e-mail was very generic, and it was clear that he didn’t really remember me. Unless he was just playing it cool, which I know all about.
So I responded with all the requested info, along with links to my current endeavors, including this column. And since I’ve decided to go stag to the reunion, hopefully he will have done his research.