Sunday, October 28, 2007

High School Reunion ...

I didn't go to my 20th reunion two weeks ago. I thought about it, but at the end of the day, with the advent of the Internet, it's pretty easy to track down anyone who might be on your mind, and I was put off by the prospect of paying 60-some bucks for a cash bar and a buffet, which, my friend Henry wrote on his blog, was bar pizza and some bad pre-fab food service crap.

I asked him to report on who was there, and he rattled off some names of people I liked a lot when I went to school. So it would have been nice to see them. Maybe I'll go to my 25th. If there is a 25th. I hear attendance at these reunions is rather pathetic.

You know, because people like me don't attend.

But today my friend (and Anatomy desk partner) Natalie came over for brunch. We hadn't seen each other since she graduated 21 years ago (she was a year ahead of me). We've traded e-mails and Christmas cards, but when I opened the door today, I was seeing her for the first time in more than two decades.

And she's still as gorgeous as she was then. "And 50 pounds heavier," she said. Oh, Nat, Nat, Nat. So much hyperbole. Looking at a picture of her from prom court, she sighed, "Why don't I look like that anymore?"

"Because you're not 17," I said.

Nat modeled part-time in high school. And she could model today.

Today was my kind of high school reunion: Pomegranate mimosas and scones and the most fabulous array of fresh fruit, thanks to Nat. (Fruit's not on the Brandon Plan – not that mimosas are – but I made an exception today. I figure, seeing someone for the first time in 21 years counts as a special occasion.) While we noshed and drank (and drank some more), I baked off a cheese and spinach strata, which I'd never made before. Usually, it's a bad idea to try out a recipe for the first time when company is involved, but really, how can you go wrong with some milk, some bread, some eggs, some spinach and sauteed onion, and mounds of Parmesan and Gruyere?

As Nat says, "I like me some cheese!" I like me some cheese, too!

She was here three hours, and they flew by. It was lovely to feel so at ease with her after not seeing her for so long. But we have a lot in common, probably more now than we did then.

And she brought me the cutest birthday gift – I like getting birthday gifts two weeks before my birthday! – which she made with her own two hands. She says she's not creative, but she's surely crafty.

Years ago, back when we were Anatomy pals, she gave me a mug for my birthday. I still use it. It holds my makeup and hair brushes in my bathroom. It's a black mug with a white phrase printed on the side: "Life's a bitch, then you die."

That pretty much summed up my attitude in high school.

But then, that pretty much sums up everyone's attitude in high schoool.

All these years later, we're both rather happy with who we are and who we're becoming.

As she was leaving, she said, "OK, well, I'll see you when you're almost 60!" She was pleased with herself for that quip!

A large part of my decision not to go to my reunion two weeks ago was that I had little desire to see most of the people in my graduating class. A high school and college friend got in touch with me this year and wanted to rekindle our "friendship" but I declined. It was difficult for me to stand by that decision. I was worried about hurting him. But our relationship had been very lopsided, with him doing most of the taking and me doing most of the giving, and I knew that seeing him again was the wrong thing for me. Some people are in your life and then they're gone and that's the way it's meant to be.

And some people are in your life and then they're gone and then they come back. And you realize that they've returned because you have new things to learn from each other.

So Nat's back.

I might start buying champagne by the case.

Update: Tonight my feeble memory managed to extract that I saw Nat once in Champaign during her freshman year at U of I. So I guess it hasn't been 21 years since we've seen each other. I guess it's only been 20 years.


Blogger Mercurie said...

You know, I haven't attended even one of my high school reunions. But then most of my class never moved away either. Why pay $60 plus to see people I can see at the supermarket or doctor's office?

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm famous! I have finally made it--I am mentioned on someone's blog. Holy crap, I can die a happy woman.
Beth, thanks for everything yesterday; the meal was delicious and so was the visit.
You're pretty awesome.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Natalie was your "Anatomy desk partener"? You were in Med school together???

10:14 AM  
Blogger OneMan said...

Dang I wish you would have told me you were meeting up with Nat. I would have had you check her relationship status for my brother.


10:39 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Anon: Nope, we had an anatomy class in high school. That's what made me want to pursue medicine, actually. I'd always thought about it, but anatomy came really easily to me, so that clinched the deal. For a while, anyway.

Henry: Nat's in a long-term relationship. But sweet of you to think of Fred.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you once thought of going into medicine! That's fascinating. Whatever happened -- the MCAT? (It's stopped more than one would-be doctor in his/her tracks.)

Have you ever thought of going into medical writing? From what I hear it's a lucrative specialty field.

2:23 PM  

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