I sat in the parking lot for a good fifteen minutes before walking inside the bar. Why the hesitation? I didn’t even have a bad high school experience — no toilet bowl swirlies in the restroom or getting dunked in the trash can like some other people have told me. Maybe it’s because I get embarrassed when I think of my high school self, and stalling in the parking lot was my last-ditch attempt to bury the past. I’d like to think I’ve changed for the better since my teenage years, but there’s a fear that parts of me haven’t.
I forced myself to go anyway and told my old friends I didn’t know how to behave at such an occasion. Would we be doomed to an evening of what-are-you-up-to-nowadays?. I felt relieved when they said they felt the same way.
The evening went well though (the free alcoholic drink + appetizers didn’t hurt), and I got the chance to reconnect with some old pals I haven’t seen in years. That alone makes all the social anxiety and awkwardness worth it.
It’s only been five years since high school, so most people look the same as they used to. Some people got married (we’re all around 22-23 years old). Others were placing bets on who would be the first in the class to have kids.
Before the reunion, I studied the faces and names of my classmates in an old yearbook. I’d hate to forget somebody else’s name, especially when the other person still remembers yours. Turns out it didn’t matter because everybody was wearing name tags, but the extra care in preparation is a good principle to hold.