School Reunions, Or Returning To The Scene Of The Crime

Think about it. Aren’t school reunions one of life’s two-edged swords? One blade slicing through the years with a sudden sure swiftness, the other with a ragged reluctance to return to the scene of the crime?

Eight times out of 10 you go anyway You’re not sure whether or how they’ll remember you, but now 10 or 25 years out, you feel this compulsive need to find out for yourself.

Admit it. The real need churning inside you is to see if anyone will still recall any of those disasters you’ve lived with all these years. You know, the stupid answers you gave in chemistry…the election you lost…the teams you never made…the dances you missed because you didn’t have a date. Or — please God! — maybe a few of them still remember your better angels. Like the time you were cast in the spring play…won the dance contest at the prom… did pretty good in PE.

You finger though the yearbook for some help. Faces. names. events. gotta look sharp tonight. Also, you finger through the closet for the right look. Confident. successful. yet not over-dressed.

Driving to the hotel, it’s the entrance that bothers you most. I mean, when you walk in, will anyone recognize you? If they do, what will they say? Gotta be prepared for no one knowing who you are. Twenty pounds is a lot more of you than any of them ever saw before. Oh hell, they’ve probably changed even more than you. You don’t have to be so defensive. As a matter of fact, if I don’t feel comfortable the first ten minutes, well I’m outta there. And good riddance. Who needs them anyway.

What’s that….? Someone calling my name….? Gee, it’s Jake! [or is that Willy?] Anyway, smile. You may not remember him, but wow he remembers you. That’s a good start! Now don’t mess it up. Keep smiling. But wait — lets start by not getting his name wrong. Names are important. You know that. So how do I play this?

“Hey tiger,” you hear yourself smiling, “how long has it been!” Jake [or Willy or was that Ray?] gives you a big bear hug. You know, the kind of hug that says help. Hmmm? now that I think about it, we’re probably all here for some of the same searching reasons.

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