As resigned to the idea as I had become in recent weeks, I still had many of the same fears, expectations, and trepidations that I had back in July. Many of the people I really would have liked to have seen there I spoke to in advance and they all said they weren't going to go because nobody they wanted to see would be there. There were some folks I knew would be there no matter what, and I was excited about seeing them. I had also contacted Pookie, my friend since I was 3, and we arranged to split a hotel room. So up at 8am I rose on Saturday, out the door at 9, and on my way, fabulous dress in tow.
Sparing the details of a play-by-play recap, it was very fun. I definitely got that release I was talking about, but it wasn't as dramatic or hollywood as I had expected. I did get the whole gamut of emotions out of it - from like new confidence to old issues.
The cool part was how united everyone seemed, but how there was no pressure or anything. I had two conversations at the very beginning that were the awkward "so...what do you do for a living...mmmhmm...and how do you like Charleston?" kind of things, and after that I decided to not ask questions I didn't care about the answers to. And I think everyone else did also, because I don't remember having too many conversations like that after the first hour or so.
Most people hung out with their old cliques, but not maliciously. Why would anyone hang out at the reunion with people they don't really know? But even though, I remember being on my way to go talk to an old friend, and passed by Alpha Popular Girl, stopped and cracked a joke with her and then moved on. It was like that all night.
The other cool part was being able to talk to people who I always knew I'd get along with but situationally couldn't hang out with in school. This one guy and I were standing there just jokes and references back at each other and he did not miss a step. I knew that was in him, but never got to see it.
After dinner, just as they were serving dessert and about to get the dance floor together, the power went out. There was this horrible roll of thunder, and the generators kicked on. The whole hotel was in a blackout for about 2 hours, and it was awesome. I'm kinda glad it did, since everyone was forced to just hang and bullshit with each other.
After the power came back on and the reunion shut down, for some reason had closed the hotel bar, so everyone was just hanging out in the hallway. Pookie had a bunch of bottles of booze in her car, busted them out, and for the next few hours it was us, the guy I was joking with earlier, some baseball players, the photographer for the school newspaper, the AV Squad guy, some cheerleaders, the Homecoming Queen, a few burnouts, some popular kids and some people who I barely remember ever meeting passing bottles of vodka and tequila around a hotel hallway. There was a real camaraderie and safety to the whole thing. We were all in the same group.
It was 100% worth the effort. It was also worth going to bed at 3am Sunday, being awoken by Pookie and like 5 other people at 6am to come and crash on the floor, again at 6:45 when I told them I have to get up at 8 for real, get up at 8, get home at 1, go to work at 2, work until 10, wake up at 5:30, work until 10:30 that night, and do it again on Tuesday. Oy.