I never did write about my high school reunion.
People always ask me how I have such a good memory when it comes to middle school and high school. More than half of my professional career has been dedicated to writing - and rewriting - those years, that it's never been all that far from my mind.
Tug at one small silvery filament of memory and the whole thing is bound to unravel.
At my ten year high school reunion, I was looking forward to connecting with my high school friends (Facebook was but a gleam in young Zuckerberg's eye?) and coming back a Capital-S Success. I found that people still kept to themselves, for the most part. Groups clung together with the same magnetic force that they did in high school.
But then came Facebook.
And suddenly I was planning our 20-year reunion.
There was the joke that i heard not once, not twice, but over and over - are you friends with the popular people? (To be fair, I may have been the first one who made it.)
While everyone went on and grew up and Did Things Adults Did, I work in a business that's been caled "High School With Money." I'm writing pilots about high school wrongs, about rumors, about first kisses, about who your friends really are.
Planning the reunion, I pored over yearbooks and tried to match names and photos with email addresses and friend requests. I dug up old journals and looked through everyone else's friends' list remembering boys that I liked and girls who were mean to me.
I talked to new friends - people I knew in high school, but wasn't friends with - about the whole process.
I mean, I'm not an idiot. I know that high school is rife with reverse narcissism - that belief that it's all about you, and it's all bad. I had braces. I had glasses. I had a bad perm (is there such a thing as a good perm? Not in the 80s.) I was chubby and dark in a school filled with skinny blonde girls. I was smart and I was funny and I could be prone to fits of bravado to mask the fact that I was painfully shy and totally self-conscious.
(I definitely didn't date.)
All of this, swirling in my head while I decided that I was going to confront the girl(s) who were mean to me. I had one in my sights, specifically. I wasn't going to be cruel (erm, that would defeat the purpose,) but I just wanted to say you did this and that wasn't cool.
Except that I didn't get a chance to, because when I ran into her it didn't really matter.
Because she wasn't the person I thought she was, either.
When I write characters I try not to make them one-dimensional.
Yet I had painted all the "villains" in my life in precisely that way.
There was no grand moment. I just realized that I didn't know them and they didn't know me. That was it.
But I was no longer shy. I was no longer self-conscious. I was no longer worried about what people thought.
And that's why my high school reunion was a hell of a lot of fun.
(And I'm looking forward to someone else planning the next one.)