"I Wanna Run Through The Halls Of My High School
I Wanna Scream At The Top Of My Lungs..."
My thirty year high school reunion was the first weekend in August. I had told myself for the last full year that this was the year I would attend. I have told myself this every five years since the 15 year reunion. I can never seem to bring myself to actually going.
It's not like I don't know why. See, my high school years were golden for me. I fell in with the cool kids my junior year and found myself writing for the school paper, getting parts in all the school plays and musicals, was asked to join the vocal ensemble that toured local charity events and recorded an album, and was a part of the competitive acting and speaking team. Won some awards for my performance of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" at a state competition. Scholastically, I did well. National Honor Society. I was popular with the drama kids, the stoner kids, and the jocks. Well, not 'Prom King' popular, but I was well-liked, and fairly well-known.
I guess I'm saying that I peaked at 18.
Since that time, I struggled in the real world. I got fat, I got lazy. I got lost.
Then, I got gay.
Did I really want to go back and face my shining past? I have always have wanted to, but I have never been able to muster the courage.
Well, an old school mate who did attend has just sent me pictures from the event. So, for the first time since graduating, I got to look in on who and what I have been missing. And here is what I saw:
Picture after picture of people who look like my parents. Like my Dad's golfing buddies or something. They are wrinkled, balding, fat, middle-aged men and women who are old enough now to have GRANDkids! My peers, my friends, forever burned into my braincells as young and vital and adventurous, crazy, Hell-raisers are, in fact, getting ready to retire. I looked deeply into their eyes, trying to find The Teenager. Who were these people?
Seriously, it spooked me.
I jumped up from my computer and found the nearest mirror and studied my face. I still see The Teenager in me! I swear, I don't look all that drastically different in my face than when I was a kid. Sure, there is wear and tear. Of course. But I do NOT see Grandpa Jim. Could my brain simply refuse to see what I really look like? What in the hell do I really LOOK like?
I have no idea anymore.