High school reunion, Part 1

The invitation to my 20th high school reunion arrived in the mail. As someone who skipped her fifth, 10th, and 15th, I was brought up short by the big 2-0. Here was a more meaningful milestone.

While curious about my former classmates, I still felt old insecurities bubbling up. Had enough time passed that I could walk into a party and no longer feel intimidated by the popular kids? How would I look? What would I say?

A second thought, I'm ashamed to say, was motivated by social revenge. If I showed up with a nice husband and cute son, I would redeem all those times in high school I went dateless.

My husband refused to join such a scheme. "Go if you want," he said, "but I hope you'll do it for some other reason." (Richard, it must be said, had no shortage of high school friends, so he doesn't understand the yearnings of the less-friend-endowed.)

After that chiding, I decided not to go. Why show up at a dinner-dance alone, only to reinforce my loser status from 20 years ago? Pleeease.

Then, over summer, several friends went to their 20th reunions and, gasp, enjoyed themselves. (It was almost as if they had been planted by my alumni association.) These friends told how cliques that ruled the school had dropped away, and people were much friendlier and more open.

Humbled, I sent an e-mail to one of the reunion organizers. "Still time to sign up?" I asked.

"Absolutely," she wrote back. "Everyone will be thrilled to see you."

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