Bent Words

Bent Words

August 27, 2017

Twenty year High School reunion today.

Twenty years... Yikes.

I guess I was kind of but not really officially invited yesterday. Mostly an afterthought. They posted my picture from Girl Scouts. (I don't even really remember being in Girl Scouts. Except for the part where I came up short on the pizza sales. That always bummed me out.) I told them to send pics if they had more since I lost all of mine in the fire. Everyone always says they will send me some and they never do.

They friended me on FaceBlob. They asked if I was coming to the reunion tonight. They said it would be good to 'catch up.' But I hardly recall most of them. And what I do recall isn't good.

What is it precisely that you would like to catch up on?

Perhaps we could take a lovely jaunt down memory lane, recollecting the times when I skillfully dodged the fistfuls of small rocks, crayons and crumpled paper being thrown at my head while I exited the bus! Or we could reminisce about the days when I was abandoned on the playground, shunned by all of my ‘friends’ for the knots in my hair and the crooked nature of my teeth! That was pretty cool. Or if we really wanted to knock on the door of the blissful times we shared in grade school, we could recount the day when Jessica and Angie found the note I had written about them, detailing their demise. I remember that one quite well. Getting dragged down the hall by our fourth grade teacher and how she stood over me in a darkened lunch room, gripping my arm as though I were a fugitive, waiting for my explanation. I only thought my mother bared her teeth when she was mad -- but apparently that's a thing.

I didn't have a word to say through my tears, my fear, my disdain. How could I talk when all I felt was betrayed? My best friend turned bully. In the eyes of a child, it was all so encompassing but, to them, it has apparently rolled right the fuck off of their memories...

I wonder if they remember how I would fake a stomach ache during art class just so Jessica and Angie couldn’t taunt me from the table behind me, whispering my name and poking fun at all the projects I made. "Look at that rat's nest," they'd say. "Does she even know how to comb her hair?"

As often as I could, I spent the hour of our art class on the nurse’s cot in the principal’s office just hoping the hour, the day, the reality would come to an end. Mr. Hare would check on me sometimes, knowing something more than a sour stomach was incapacitating me.

But what do I know? Maybe they just want to catch up on all the ‘good old days’ when we didn’t bother speaking to each other in Middle School or High School. I was barely there to talk to them anyway. Or maybe they want to talk about their children and their significant others and their jobs and their dogs... That could be simply riveting since I could not care any fucking less!

I wonder if they're bringing their kids along. Maybe Jessica's kiddos would like to know how much of a selfish, drunk ass BITCH their grandmother is! That could be fun. I could tell her about the time when I went to the bar with my boyfriend and how her mother slapped his ass and then put her pathetic phone number in his back pocket before getting me kicked out of the place for underage drinking. "Wait. You're Laura, Jessica's old friend! That means you aren't even old enough to be here."

Right. But you look pretty expired, honey, so maybe you should call the home you belong to and see if they'll pick you up before you break a hip. It is WAY past your bedtime.

Like mother, like daughter.

I saw her years later, my ex-best friend's mother, applying for a job at the motorcycle shop. She was so sweet it made me sick. Apparently she found God so that makes up for all the malfeasance on her end. Too bad I couldn't pull that card out of my back pocket when it suited me. But I've never really needed to because I've never treated someone like they were a piece of trash.

So are they delusional or do they genuinely just not remember? Why even bother to try reuniting with someone like me? Because we all graduated on the same day? Because you want to make amends? Because we all belong to the good old class of 97?

I barely graduated. I had to take summer school classes in between my Junior and Senior year in High School because I missed so much school because I didn't want to be around a bunch of fucked up little shitheads like YOU!

I'm glad none of you carry around the burden of guilt. I'm glad you all have made better lives for yourselves and that your ignorance is such bliss. I'm so glad. I'm genuinely impressed by your false sentiments of kindness and totally blown away by the fact that you would think to finally invite little old me to a class reunion, twenty years post graduation, when all we share in common is the unfortunate fact that we were all together on that fateful summer day, twenty years ago.

I was the first to leave, you know. The first to escape the gymnasium full of graduates. I saw my big brother in the audience as I fled, fresh out of the Brig and that's all I needed to feel proud of myself. The parking lot was empty of people still hugging and celebrating inside. None of you freaks did me any favors but I stayed the course and went onto to college (miles beyond that of your ridiculous High School drama) because that's what everyone else wanted of me. To be "well-rounded" and "diverse." And on the rare occasions that I revisited my old stomping grounds, pausing briefly to enjoy a beer here or a lunch date there, I heard the same, shitty fucking thing...

"Laura! Look at you! You look so pretty! I can't believe it!"

"Uhhhh, thanks? Who are you again?"

I see pictures now of some of you and I don't feel that hardcore hate anymore. I see your balding heads, your fatter bellies, your second or third marriages, your travail with your children, your genuine commitment to a decent life. I see it. And I don't wish the worst upon you because I know life has probably already done the worst.

But I also have nothing good to say about you so it's better left at that.

At nothing more than a nod and a smile.

Now I'm going to do something different somewhere else.


Written at 7:13 a.m.