Reunion: Redux

I did promise to report back...so here I am.  I survived.  Even though the whole thing had put me in a weird headspace and had made me contemplate some things about myself, I'm glad I went.  Peter had planned to come along with me, but he had unfortunately been made redundant (thanks to the TAFE funding cuts) the day before.  There will be more about this later.  As he'd come down with a cold, it was couch and pajama time for him.   So, here's how my night went...

A lovely friend had been persuaded by my last blog post, to come along.  She had been contacted by someone else we went to high school with, and all three of us rocked up together.  I was happy to give them both a lift...safety in numbers, and all that.  And secretly I thought how ace it was to be arriving with two of the coolest and nicest people from school.  We had all confessed our fears in the car, and at the first sign of it being traumatic we'd agreed to make a mad dash to Sydney Road for coffee and cake!  It's good to have Plan B's in life sometimes.

So, in we walked and mingled.  I could see some familiar faces and after initially letting my nerves get the better of me, I dashed to the bar.  Yep, socialising can be easier whilst holding a drink.  I found a friend I have kept in regular contact with over the years, and another I hadn't seen since year 11.  It was nice to chat to them.  I think everyone fears or suspects that reunions will be about sussing out who is successful, happily married, divorced or gone bald.  One interesting thing is that Facebook seems to have kept most people up to date with the general information. Where we work, live and our relationships etc.  So most of the conversations I had on the night were about other things.

I saw someone look at me across the room.  She smiled and began walking towards me.  It took a while to realise the name that went with the face, but once I figured it out I was thrilled.  I'd spent one summer holiday getting to know her, back when I was 14.  Our parents both camped at the same caravan park, so it was a fun summer of looking at boys and giggling.  It was lovely to catch up and find that we still had a similar sense of humour and dry wit.  I had mentioned how I was nervous and feeling like my shy teenage self.  She looked at me surprised.  Sometimes it's funny to see yourself from the outside.  I guess I was always fine with friends, but intimidated by other people in the room.

We watched as the blonde popular girls arrived and all screamed and hugged each other.  Funnily we had formed into the similar groups we had at high school.  We were all leaning over to each other, whispering "Oh what's her name again?" or "who's that guy?".  We managed to remember most people, but I think there were many mysteries in the room.  Some people had left the school in year 10 or 11, and had been in different grades.  I was prepared for many people not to remember me...and there were some blank stares in my direction.  However, hilariously one person remembered my name but I had no idea who she was...even after someone said her name!  I guess that sums it all up really.  Some of the girls were saying that we'd all aged better than the guys.  I think this is a bit harsh.  I looked around the room and saw people in their 40s, with all sorts of life experiences.  I was in no position to throw stones from my glasshouse!

The reunion was held at a beer barn in Essendon, the suburb of our high school.  There was a bad covers band playing, which made conversation almost impossible.  Some of us watched while the 40 year olds hit the dance floor to Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams and Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield.  At least it gave us music lovers something to point and laugh at.  I sought out someone who I hadn't really spoken to in high school.  She has however friended me on facebook, and been quite lovely about my blog and writing.  I met her husband and we were able to transcend the online comments, and  actually talk in person.  How gloriously old fashioned of us.

We had chatted until we were raspy and losing our voices.  It was about 11pm and the friend I'd arrived with had signaled that she was good to go if I was.  We began to say our goodbyes.  We moved across the dance floor (thank god the band had ended) to say farewell, and of course got chatting to more people.  And that's when it happened.  There was one question I'd kinda feared all night.  A girl who I'd never spoken to at school said hello.  She asked if I was married (yes) and then asked if I had kids.  "No" I replied, hoping that would be the end of it.  "Oh, is there any reason you haven't?" she probed, putting her hand to my elbow.  "Circumstances" was the answer I had been practicing in my head for weeks.  I bit the inside of my lip. A nervous habit I seem to have picked up in recent years.  "Well, that's ok..." she replied.  She said something else, but the roar of discomfort in my head, blocked it out.  The fact is it's kinda not ok with me, but you know that's how life is sometimes.  This is something quite confronting for me to mention here.  People are always amazed at what I write about, but I've managed to keep this information to myself, husband and my dear friends.  I have had moments where this has been too painful to write about, even though I've contemplated it many times.  We all have something that we wish was different in our lives.

My friend and I moved on, heading towards the entrance.  The smokers were all out there, and it seemed much wine and champagne had been drunk.  More chatting, hugs and laughs and then were were safely in my car.  We had managed to have a good night, mostly.  I walked away with a few more facebook friends and a smile on my face.  A good result all things considered.

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xx em

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