Very frankly, when I got the e-invite on my phone, I wasn’t going to go. My husband and his friends made it a ‘thing’ and made me promise to visit college and meet all my classmates after all these years.
“You’ll be there with me, right?” I asked him, and he did the whole dance of pretending not to hear while his friends snickered in the background.
I let it go because I knew it wasn’t his thing. He puts up with countless whims of mine, so I let him get away with not attending boring parties.
That’s how I found myself at my old college, a place filled with fond memories but the flashbacks of the boredom and broken friendships and all the unnecessary drama I knew I was too mature for even back in the day.
“Hey, oh my gosh, how have you been!” A sweet-looking old lady approached me, which I soon realized was my teacher.
A moment later another woman my age came to me, “Oh my god! Look at you miss influencer hot-shot!” I laughed and engaged in conversation with her even though I didn’t remember her.
“Shortie!” I heard a scream.
Only one person called me that, and I didn’t need to turn around to know who it was. So, I stood still, waiting for him to come to me because I knew he would. And he did.
“Fatty!” I turned around and hugged him, finally! “It’s been ages!”
I pulled apart to get a good look at him. He was taller, plumper, balder, but still had that charm about him. I guess 20 years does that to a person.
“How have you been?” I asked, still feeling a little red in the cheeks and some fading butterflies after all these years.
“I’ve been so good, and I’ve missed you so much! You didn’t even visit me in London, you idiot!” He replied.
“I know, I’m sorry, but I was doing a brand deal for this English company and the accommodation they had booked was all the way on the other side of the city,” I replied, half-honestly.
I was looking deep into his eyes and listening to something he was saying, without paying much attention, when suddenly we saw someone approaching us. Shanaya. The resident ‘it’ girl, now married with 2 kids, the ideal homemaker.
“Hey Shanaya, how have you been?” I asked giving her a warm and courteous hug. She was still beautiful with long and luscious hair and designer handbags and shoes.
Shanaya and Fatty hugged for a long time and it hit me that the two of them were pretty close back in the day. Suddenly, I felt like I was intruding on something.
“So, how is it being a mom, Shanaya?” I asked, and she dove into the details of her home life, narrated with all the glitz and rewarding nature of motherhood, but underlines by the loneliness of being alone all day and the overwhelmingness of being around screaming children all evening. I had heard from a friend of a friend that the rumour going around was that her husband was having an affair with another woman. Obviously, I didn’t bring it up. I remember the pictures from her wedding and I remember her husband being the wealthiest, most charming in all of the city. For her sake, I didn’t bring it up.
“What about you? How is your job?”
“Honestly, social media isn’t as easy as it looks…” and I went into the details, but I knew they didn’t really care. Because I didn’t really care about their jobs either.
Fatty then went on to talk about living in London and how he thought it was destiny that he happened to be in town at the same time this reunion was happening. We laughed and soon mingled with a new crowd.
Here, I met all kinds of crazies. Corporate slaves, magicians, aromatherapists (??), and even people without jobs made lounging on the couch every day sound like it was work.
I wasn’t particularly interested in talking to anyone, but the old teacher I stumbled into again told me there was a reason I was brought back here.
Apparently, nothing happens without a reason and the reason I was here all these years later was bigger than I was realizing.
I think I got her point.
I decided to make my way back to my two long-lost friends and re-kindle our friendship because honestly, that’s what I believed was my reason to be here. To be there for a lonely woman and tell her that I could be there for her, and to be there for a man who had nothing to say for himself except his fancy job, with no one by his side.
I almost felt like it was my duty to go to them and tell them I was here for them.
I walked around trying to find them – the washroom, the auditorium, the main gate. But it was on the football field I found them. Right in the corner, holding hands and in a tight embrace, as the fireworks went off.
Just like they did all those years ago.
And I walk away.
Just like I did all those years ago.
(Photo credits: Pexels)
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