This past weekend I attended my twenty year high school reunion. As a part of the festivities, the reunion committee organized a meet and greet at the high school with our principal. On Saturday morning, I drove from my former childhood home on Bosque Street to Garland High School. During the short drive, I thought about random memories of high school: sitting on the steps outside the school waiting for my Dad to pick me up, the graduation party my parents threw in our backyard (for some of my classmates it was their first taste of Indian food), and how I memorized and recited Shakespeare’s speech, “To Be or Not To Be” from Hamlet during my junior year of English.
As I parked my car in the back lot of the school, I thought about all the times I tried to secure a late-last minute spot because I was running just a few minutes late. I tried to place myself at the exact same location twenty years ago. Although my high school experience was generally positive, I recall feeling awkward and insecure. As one of the few Indian girls in my school, I couldn’t really blend in. And the fact that I was a Hindu vegetarian added to my feelings of being different.
But twenty years later, as I conversed with some of my oldest classmates, I remember some of the more funnier and happier memories. My friend Scott, who to this day is one of the most genuine and nicest people I’ve ever met, literally saved my life during English class. I ate a Gobstopper in English class and choked. I motioned to Scott, who immediately performed the Heimlich Maneuver. We joke collectively that if it wasn’t for Scott, my husband and I would have never met. And then there is my dear friend Kristi. She introduced me to the Rolling Stones song, “Paint It Black.” We’ve been friends ever since and shared memories that extend beyond high school. I saw other classmates, like Tammy, who always smiled and carried an upbeat attitude through our four years of high school. And twenty years later, it was a comfort to see that she still had that sunny disposition. In the evening time during the reception, my friend Lexie, one of the most versatile people I know, still laughed the same way, a laugh I’ve know since Kindergarten. She’s still got that same spirit about her. Always moving, laughing and embracing life.
As we all mingled together during the reception, I thought about the universality of all of our experiences. I heard some of the same words in conversations: college, marriage, kids, divorces, losses, job changes, moves, illness and other various hues of happiness, and sadness. But what amazed me was the ease of most conversations. Most of us just slipped into banter without considering that twenty years had passed. Perhaps it’s because of the shared history, the fact that we all probably felt a sense of not fitting in or in transition during high school.
These conversations furthered my belief that we aren’t all that complicated. We are all still seeking the same thing we strived for in high school. For someone to say, I hear you. And I get it. Some things never change. Even after twenty years.