Saturday, 14 July 2012

High School Class Reunion

A short fictional piece, for which there is no real venue for publishing, so I'll dump it here.


It's coming around to that time we anticipate with both eagerness and alarm: the twenty-year class reunion. This is the event where we all find out the school idiot became a high-flying CEO, the ditzy cheerleader became a congresswoman, and the skinny kid with bad acne in typing class became a millionaire business tycoon. And this is when all of them find out that I've put on forty pounds, dropped out of university, and married someone from the rival high school across the valley.

The ticklers have begun arriving months in advance. Last week I received a form by email from our class president (now district attorney). I was to fill out the questions, attach a photo of myself, and send it back. These answers and photos will end up in a directory so we can all look up our former classmates. I'm breathless with excitement at the prospect. Who will I look up first? The girl who shoved me in a locker and stole my gym shorts or the boy who laughed hysterically when I asked him to Sadie Hawkins?

I really did my best to fill out the form, but how can you possibly be honest with questions like "What are the dreams you had in high school and did you fulfill them?" Well, I didn't end up running away to Europe with my French teacher. I never wrote a bestseller, flew in a hot-air balloon, or hosted my own TV show. I never backpacked across Iceland or met Mother Theresa. I'm a suburban secretary with three kids, a dog, and a mortgage to feed. I left this question blank.

The next question was "What do you do?" What do I do? I drive a car pool at 6 a.m. I fold a pile of laundry every day that would rival the Rockies. I hide the last bite of Pralines & Cream at the bottom of the freezer under the bag of turkey burger and sneak it after the kids are in bed. I lock myself in the bathroom at work so I can finish the last three pages of my novel. I use black ballpoint pen to colour in the hole in my stockings. I make the best shortbread at the PTA bake sale.

"Where do you live now?" I am not going to give any identifiers that would allow Janice the shorts thief to track me down. I write in simply, "At wit's end" and move to the next question.

"Do you keep in touch with anyone from our class?" We graduated twenty years ago. I have moved 3,000 miles away. This was deliberate.

"Please give your spouse's name and children's names and ages." Like a retiring Hollywood starlet, I am reluctant to give out personal information. What if I'm just feeding info to a stalker? What if they realize one of my sons was named after my French teacher? And if I give the age of my oldest, everyone will know how far I got in college. I write "Huey, Louie, and Dewey, ages unknown."

"What is your greatest accomplishment?" I know that one. Huey, Louie, and Dewey.

I sent back the email and got an immediate reply. "You forgot to attach a current photo."

I am not about to admit I don't know how to download pictures from my digital camera and still go to WalMart to print off all my photos. I email back, "Just stick in a photo of Julia Roberts and say it's me."

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