I recently got invited to a school reunion being organised at the local rugby club. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it. It’s been about 15 years since I last saw most of my former classmates from senior school, a handful I am friends with on Facebook but we don’t meet up and hardly speak online. Most of this ‘re-friending’ probably occurred due to a smattering of curiosity and a hoping to rekindle a closeness lost over the years.
Instead what happens is a few minutes spent looking at photos and realising that so much has happened over the years without you being involved that you probably don’t even know these people any more. I mean back then we hung out shopping, listening to Pearl Jam and the Spin Doctors all the while wondering when we’d finally be grown up.
So I’ve said maybe to the reunion. I’m in a way disappointed that it’s not being held at our old school as I’m sure the urge to revisit classrooms and lockers is part and parcel of the reason many people go along to these things. All I remember about the rugby club is a couple of drunken parties feeling desperately left out for not having ‘gotten off’ with anyone.
I’m also very conscious of the fact that very few of the people I spent time with at school and considered my friends are actually going. Which leaves me shrinking back into the shy and scared teenager that I was back then with thoughts that the cool kids of my year might not care to see me and I’d be left disappointed yet again. What am I really going to achieve by going? I might spend a few minutes relishing the fact that I am no longer the person I was back in school but after that I will end up thinking “what am I doing here?”.
Most films depicting the classic school reunion highlight what the real reasons are for going:
1. To fulfil a morbid curiosity. Is the fit guy at school still good-looking? Or is the girl who bullied you now overweight and deeply unhappy with her life.
2. To show everyone how brilliant you are now. You’ve grown up and have a successful career and wonderful family or have managed to come into money in a way that everyone will be envious.
3. To catch up with friends who you were really close to. You hope they’re still the same underneath all the years of change.
I’ve looked down the list of people who have accepted the invite and most draw a blank or make me a bit nervous. I’m not keen to have a Grosse Point Blank moment or dance the night away like Romy and Michele.
If anything the school reunion invite has made me understand that the friends I have stayed in touch with over the years are my friends not because they fulfil some kind of longing to belong I had at school but because we care about each other and want to share each others lives. And unlike Muriel I have no-one I want to prove myself to.
I may change my mind but at this point I’m thinking my acceptance may change to a no.