Ahhh…the first week of high school…amazing that it’s still etched in my mind. My best friend and I spent several days carefully formulating our plan to conquer ‘high school—week one’. On our list: matching outfits—mandatory regroups throughout the day—and absolutely, positively—a walk home together to assess [in real-time], the most important week of our lives. : ) Good thing all that freshman nervousness was not to last. We were quickly up and running and in the swing of all things high school — she with her cheerleading and me enjoying new friends and the comforting arms of my very first boyfriend. My first love, someone to share in the innocence and exploration of companionship and protection with all the fancy fixings. From the early blissful days of falling in love to the sadness of parting…we found ourselves moving on after three heartfelt years. We created our own families and jobs and homes and so much more over the years. But always in our hearts, we knew a coming together was imminent.
Then…with little fanfare, all short and sweet..there it was. A little posting for all to see announcing our high school reunion. A simple announcement for a very special 40-year celebration to bring kids who grew up together back together. It’s hard to imagine that 40 years could breeze by so quickly like a twinkling of the eye of life’s history and drama — the marriages, divorces, kids, parents with Alzheimer’s, and the loss of people close to us. Seems we’ve been through it all. And now, we get to rewind the clock for a few hours with people we once knew and loved. Together again under one roof! We get to check in, reconnect, and share moments from the past. It’s more than a party, it’s more than a blast from the past…for me…it’s a priceless ‘checking in’ with my first love.
Finally, the long-awaited evening came…and without fanfare…there he was….standing there in all his glory, smiling in all his 58 year-old handsomeness…STILL THE SAME…the one that got away, the sweet young man I failed to appreciate fully…the one that unselfishly gave me every ounce of his puppy love.
Perhaps he was the reason to attend the party, the reason to look as fabulous as one could…for the sake of our incredible memories from the past. We spent hours that night talking about what could have been, and hours enjoying every moment we had together, knowing this might be the last time we see each other. After forty years, our lives are planted in different cities with different people, and in different relationships…and that’s so very ok. Still…I cannot help but wonder what might have been…and at the same time appreciating every single moment I got to spend with my still-handsome, funny, kind and protective..high school love.
The one that got away has now gone away, but I still thank him for three beautiful years together some 40+ years ago, and for continuing to touch my life the way he always has. :)
Truly the ‘bestest’ of high school reunions!