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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Whos afraid of a ten year reunion?

Tomorrow I’m taking the day off work and headed to pick up my rental car. I’m going to my high school reunion. Ten years have passed since I carefully tossed my mortar board into the air at Hulman Center and said goodbye to Terre Haute South.

I never looked back.

That’s a lie, I looked back a lot and was grateful to be looking back and not in the quagmire that was highschool. I was wierd in highschool. I wasn’t popular, but everyone knew me. It was the same in college–not popular, but well-known. There was a fine line somewhere in there, but I don’t know what it was. All I know is that more people remember me, than I remember other people. When I realize that someone has remembered me, I then start to feel like an asshole and start to wonder, “Wait, was I popular?”

No. The answer is no. I was not popular. I was a band geek, in speech club, the lighting crew. I went to prom alone one year and with an in-the-closet gay guy senior year. (How I didn’t know that the male Color Guard director wasn’t gay, I’ll never really understand.) I got my heart broken sophomore year and never let myself recover–at least not during high school. Why not? Cause John Boyd was the one, he just didn’t realize it.

I got called to the office and asked about drug-use in the marching band and told everyone I was in trouble for parking my hearse in two spots. I was never on the homecoming or prom court, so my answer was to wear combat boots to prom. I was a Bad Ass Geek. My letterjacket was heavy under academic letters (there was one for swimming on there, see I was an athlete for five minutes.) and even heavier under carefully placed music medals.

Going into Junior Year, I lost most of my friends due to “girl shit.” My best friend stole my sister’s boyfriend. My sister’s boyfriend had been my best friend at some point. Since my new ex-best friend was cuter, funnier, and a greater risk taker than me, the friends went with her and I started over.

So Junior Year I was single, friendless, and the Drum Major of the marching band. I was first to get there, last to leave. Certain that someone would recognize the fantasticness I brought to everything I did. I would get angry and carry the 150 LB steel drum major podium to the football field by myself. The heartbreaker ex-boyfriend was a co-drum major, so angry happened regularly.

This was also when my “food thing” was going strong. It wasn’t bulimia or anorexia, just an inability to eat in public and if I did, I threw up. But it was never a binge and purge, control issue, or anything. It was just, this thing, this terrible embarassing thing. Have you ever thrown up in the middle of a date? Or while you were making out with someone? I didn’t think so.

I gracefully survived my most embarassing moment senior year, only to find out that it had been recorded. Then it was replayed at the banquet for everyone to see–three times. “If that,” a parent of another student told me, “is the worst thing that ever happens in your life, I think you’ll be fine.” I probably threw up, but I remember that she was african american and I remember thinking that having my most-embarassing moment on video, shown at a banquet, was nothing compared to battling racism. I thought big when I was 18.

I didn’t give any speeches at graduation, though I wanted to. I was never recognized by my peers like I thought I deserved.

It wasn’t all so terrible and dramatic. I had good teachers and good, nice friends who were outsiders like me. Incredibly good people. Most of them played clarinet or flute or excelled in sciences. Or they were teachers. Mr. Wunderlich. Mrs. Secreast. Huter. Mr. Allen. People that saw I could write and encouraged it, that I could speak in public and encouraged it, that I could do science and encouraged it.

Funny–most people would throw up from nerves before giving a speech in competition or a solo oboe performance or taking AP exams. Not me, those things didn’t phase me too much. Social situations were where I didn’t shine.

So why am I apprehensuve about my high school reunion? At least I don’t have braces anymore. Let me practice saying it, “Oh, I work in Public Relations in Chicago. I just bought a condo. A couple years ago I was working in London. No, I didn’t make it, that is when I was living in Colorado.”

This time, no throwing up.

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