Oh What a Night
We went to my grade school reunion last week. I was so genuinely happy to see so many familiar, beautiful, happy faces when I walked in I wanted to hug the fucking waiter. Ya know? It's been a week and I can't stop looking at the pictures and smiling like a giant doofus. Whatever!
We walked into the bar and my mind flashed back as I saw those older but familiar faces smiling back at me. I don't think I've ever walked into a place I've never been to and felt so welcome. That many people, happy to see me, really?
My old man would have rather snorted Pixie Stix than drive Miss Daisy but knowing I can't see at night, he really didn't have a choice.
I couldn't hug them hard enough, as I was breathing each of them in, noticing they don't smell like playground dirt and sweat anymore. Working my way through the crowd of old school friends, flashes of memories flooding my mind.
Years, hell, decades have gone by and there they were, just as I'd remembered, sans the dirt/sweaty smell. I don't know that I've ever been so happy to see a group of people who weren't related by blood.
"We were just talking about you."
I didn't know if that was a good thing or bad, so I smiled it off and made my way back hugging everyone along the way. There was one person I didn't recognize. After hugging the shit out of that woman, I said, "Sorry, what's your name?"
"Shut up! Oh my God! Your hair! You have hair!"
How could I not recognize my bestie, Cheryl? I had to hug her again. Squeezing the breath out of her, rocking side-to-side like Rainman and Nancy Kerrigan's love child.
You long time readers may recall a story I wrote about her taking me to McDonalds.
This is us when we were 11-years-old.
Shut up! She didn't look THAT much like Screech.
This is us now.
"Yeah, you didn't recognize these extra 50... okay 80 pounds," she joked.
"Honestly, it's your hair! I remember walking to your house every morning to pick you up for school. You'd be all cranky, never a morning person, and you'd have that damn babushka thing tied to your head to pin your curls down."
"It was a bandana."
"Whatever! Oh my God! I can't believe you're really here."
Her face was exactly as I remember. Guess I was thrown off by her new (to me) long locks. I had to hug her again and again.
We needed to go home early because our drive was about two hours - four roundtrip. It was prom night for Lane 1, and Lane 2 was home alone...calling Mr. Lane's cell phone every half hour to ask how much longer. Which is reason 942 why I still refuse to get a cell phone. We were a block away from home when her first call came in. She said there was an emergency...she got a paper cut and wanted us back home. She was kidding. I wasn't amused as I tried to subside that sinking feeling in my gut upon hearing the word emergency. I never leave her alone, so it was strange for both of us, but necessary for me, my sanity and all of my 2,000 parts.
I didn't have enough time to visit with Emily, Carol, Nancy or many of the boys. It was virtually impossible to mingle and stroll down memory lane in two hours with everyone after being away from each other for so many years.
Early on, all the guys stood in one area, while all the girls stood in another. It was the 8th grade dance all over again. Inside, I was laughing and remembering their Pierre Cardin or Polo Cologne, combined with their Dep Gel. I was kind of sad they all didn't still smell that way either.
The girls. Back row, Lois, Cheryl and Kelly can't even stop fucking around long enough to take a picture. I'm so glad some things never change.
Cheryl and Lois trying to grope Kelly's boobs. Kelly was the flat one way back when. Guess the booby fairy finally came.
My old man tried to stay to himself but my girls wouldn't let him. They talked his ears off. One asked how he and I have stayed together so many years and he said, "It's all that butt sex I give her." Mr. Lane has no internal editor and tends to blurt the first thing to come to mind. Reason 9,322 why we really are still together. I kinda love that about him.
Blatantly trying to find his way into my panties after this shindig, Mr. Lane bought me a Mai Tai. I called him out. "You just want to get into my panties!" And he corrected, "Well, I was really trying to get you to provide some road head for the ride home." He's such a romantic. And the answer is yes, even though my moto is, "I got married so I don't have to do that sort of thing anymore."
Like fine wine, they just get better with age. Tony front and off-center, Steve, John, Carol, Jolee, Alisha, Kim, Nancy, Emily, Frank. Back row Tony, Onofrio, Brian, Kelly, Cheryl, Lois.
Frank who I never spent any time with as a kid, grew up to be so nice, smart, funny and articulate that, I couldn't help but wonder if I missed out on a really great friend so many years ago.
This was the last group of people I ever met who were really laid back and carefree. The last people to take me or leave me. Maybe it was our age, chemistry, personalities, who knows for sure why, but I loved how we were all ourselves back then, and amazed how we all seemed to pick up right where we left off.
Apparently, after liquid courage...something the boys didn't have in 8th grade, made its way through their systems, the boys mingled with the girls. By then we'd already gone home. I've seen pictures however, and let me tell you that is a rowdy bunch. Should there ever be another gathering, I'm staying until the bitter end, with a video camera on hand.