Monday, August 9, 2010

30 years

It was a nice reunion.
We went, three friends and I.
Meeting at Tina's house where I fixed her bra straps in her shirt while her husband of many years sat in the living room reading a parts manual until Lila and Larry showed up and then Kathy.
We drove to the Legion Hall in the small northwestern town and donned paper name tags and wandered over to a small table set in a corner, with old annuals, a bright green cardboard sign with notes from people not there, flowers, candles and a list of those deceased. Thirteen. Thirteen out of a class of one hundred fifty. Nearly ten percent. Two from suicide. Two from car crashes. Two heart attacks. One from a house fire. The litany continued with questions and, "oh reallys?" and then was finished and so we turned to see Larry talking to two guys at a table and saw other people we knew and went and visited and dispersed somewhat. We had a place staked out already, a table in the back, near the door, where I went and sat and talked to Doug, Nancy's husband of twenty-five years.
The number of long marrieds in our class is longer than 'those deceased', and the number of born-agains-turned-their-lives around is significant and perhaps a greater percentage than 'those deceased'. People drove in from Texas, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Georgia, Arkansas. A guy drove up in a Lamborghini and it is a credit to our class that no one cared and only one guy noticed and asked if he could drive the car. He was joking.

The Legion Hall was not large and was somewhat stuffy. A pool table sat in the corner covered. After talking to others, we met around the table and ate and talked and the girls (plus one husband, Larry) that had come together sat leaning on one another from time to time, comfortable, sisters of a form, having known each other since kindergarten and third grade. Having seen each other grow up, get married, divorced (except Tina), have kids, lose parents, and now, maturation and menopause.

There was a guy who arrived in a blue leisure suit with a friend of his who had not graduated from the school but who had gone there for a number of years. He met me at the food table and asked how I was. He was getting cookies and I was getting carrot sticks. Things were a blur and I answered and asked him how he was and what he was doing. The conversation was brief and I returned to my place. Tired all of a sudden and leaned against Kathy who sat at the corner of the table.

Group pictures were taken. There was a raffle. JJ from our elementary school won. He and his wife have been married since highschool.

People began dispersing and kids came in and began playing with the balloons while others stood outside smoking and talking and then, the majority were outside standing in groups talking and blue leisure suit had changed into a polo shirt and shorts and looked lean and tan and stood talking to a woman not of our class out in the dark of the building. We ended up next to each other in a group when he asked how long Larry and I had been dating to which Tina, Lila and I laughed to tears while I told him that Larry was Lila's husband. Oh. And then I turned and we began a conversation and I heard a bit of his story, not so unlike my own and yet, years, and miles and galaxies apart. And then, as happens, people joined the conversation and so it changed and moved until our group said goodbyes (goodbye) and climbed into a car to go to a house, to visit more, to look at old yearbooks, to wonder what happened to such and so before leaving because of the smoke and the time.

The drive home was quiet through the dark country night.

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