Bring Me to Life
Copyright © 2019 by Krista Harper
No portion of this may be printed or reproduced without written consent from the author.
Getting the invitation to my 20-year high school reunion was kind of like getting kicked in the stomach. Partially because I didn’t actually get invited. Instead, I got a Facebook message from an old acquaintance asking, “Hey are you coming tonight?” Not only did I not know what was going on that night, but I wasn’t at all prepared to re-open the door to my adolescence.
Needless to say, I didn’t go to the reunion or any of the events related to it. I didn’t scroll through Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media searching for pictures or updates about everyone else getting together to celebrate.
But I’ll admit, I sulked.
I sulked a lot.
Which was surprising. I spent that weekend moping around my house, pretending to be busy. I mean, I get it. I wasn’t popular in high school. It was a smaller school compared to others I had previously attended and it was filled with kids who had been born and raised for generations in the same small Washington town. Compared to them, I was just some girl who had moved to the area during sophomore year. So, the fact that no one really remembered me was to be expected.
Oh! Probably that and the fact that the captain of the football team asked me out my second day of school didn’t help. He was a senior…. and very popular. And I should mention he had a long-time girlfriend who was in my grade. After three years with her, he told me he would dump her in a second if I gave him a chance. His girlfriend wasn’t too keen on that. Or me. And that pretty much set the tone for the remainder of my high school career.
I had spent my entire childhood moving; I was always the ‘outsider’. It was like a revolving door of houses and schools: New York, Florida, Idaho. With each move, my father made sure to emphatically say it was all for me. All for a better life…. For me. Better schools, better opportunities. Oh, and I better appreciate it. They only picked that place for me because of how close it was to public transportation so I could get around and have freedom. And they only picked this place for me because the climate was drier and would help with my allergies. And every time it failed, I was to blame.
We settled in Bellevue during high school when my Dad got a job, which he quickly lost but we stayed anyway. The worst of all our moves, and schools, and that was where we decided to stay. Fantastic. But I did have a very small tribe during that time that I just adored. A handful of amazing girls that embraced me and took me in, even in all my quiet and newness. According to them, I had an accent and dressed different, but they still loved me. Even though I would never understand what happened to so-in-so during the second grade, or why there was bad blood amongst certain families. I was just me, with no past to share. Or at least, no past that I had any intention of sharing.
But when school ended, I quietly loved them from afar. I was, and am, horrible at keeping in touch with people. Even with the girls who kept me safe during high school. Secure. The girls that held my friendship with two hands, even when I couldn’t offer the same in return, they were my salvation. I hadn’t actually seen any of them, except for Vivian, since graduation.
That was only because Vivian wasn’t the kind of person who let you just walk away from a friendship. For twenty years she called and checked in with me regularly, whether I wanted it or not. But the others? Nothing. Not even a birthday card. That was typical for me. It was how I operated. I didn’t like people getting too close. I still don’t. It shoots warning signals off in my entire body. That’s why my weekend of sulking surprised me. And I was shocked when I found myself reaching out to those three girls, on Monday morning, asking them to get together for drinks. Screw the reunion! I didn’t need the stupid high school to dictate when I saw people. I was shocked by my offering and nervous as hell when they all excitedly agreed to my invitation.
Then, the warning signals started. So I stuffed them into the background and began making arrangements for a meeting time in Seattle.
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