Friday, August 14, 2009
It’s been a few weeks since my mini reunion trip to Colorado with four of my high school girlfriends and one of the guys. While I secretly daydreamed of a golden hued reconnection that included swelling music as it’s soundtrack; I also felt nervous that the trip would bomb, exploding uncomfortable moments all over my face. The famous quote “You can never go home” bounced around my head with reckless abandon during the days leading up to the trip. Jamie and Jill and I had already met up last year for one night. We’d had a great time a year ago. I knew seeing them would be fantastic. But the other three, I wasn’t entirely sure. I hadn’t seen Karla in almost fifteen years. Jessica and I saw each other a little in college, but nothing substantial. I’d seen Curt a few times but it was about ten years ago. At least a decade separated the majority of us on the trip. That’s a long time to go and then attempt a reconnection.
Jessica master minded the entire plan. We’d all found each other with the help of Facebook, and she thought a get together in Colorado would be fun. Surprisingly enough, we all readily agreed and booked our flights. I arrived at the Denver airport first, followed by Karla. She and I met in the agreed upon restaurant. I marveled at how much she looked and acted the same. Her facial expressions, tone of voice, body movements, all came back to me. As we talked and shared stories I wondered, where had all of that information been stored in my brain all this time, and isn’t it interesting how it all comes flooding back with the slightest nudge. I don’t know what happens with stored memories and what rusty neurons were firing, but I laughed at the wonder of it. Karla moaned about cheerleading and hating to wear her skirt that last year, how it was way too short. I immediately remembered her walking down the hall, books in one hand, the other pulling at the back of her polyester pleated skirt, it just barely covering her behind. I could hear her sighing with annoyance as she yanked it down.
The same idea rang true for everyone else as they arrived and pulled up a seat. Hidden areas of my brain lit up as Jamie made sarcastic wise cracks while Jessica tilted her head just a bit to the right to show she was listening. Like a slot machine, the familiarities kept falling into place, dinging loudly with recognition. We eventually made our way out of the airport. We met up with Curt later that night at a Brewery in Breckenridge. His presence, sitting comfortably next to Jill across the table from me, brought me back to our senior year where we’d all sat around together just like this someone’s house, late at night, laughing about who knows what, just as we were at that moment fifteen years later.
It’s amazing to me, how certain people can throw you back decades. How those people can just at the sight of them, hurl you into the past, to sit among parts of yourself you thought were long gone. Most of us would probably agree that all things high school have evaporated into the cosmos, along with the geometry theorems we were forced to memorize. Headed off on this trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I took a deep breath, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best. In the end, it was all that I had hoped for and more. I discovered that many facets my personality still exist, even if they remain mostly dormant for now. I found that people do change in some ways, but at least in this case, the core stayed the same. To be known from so long ago and then be reintroduced and connected once again, it was a delightfully comforting gift to behold.
On a lighter note, here’s a short list of other life lessons I walked away with following our trip:
•one bag of Doritos is not enough for four women for three days
•coffee and 3 different creamers are an essential for morning success
•There is one mom on every trip, and in this case it was Jamie
•There is one person unprepared on every trip, and in this case it was me.
•Hanging out in your pajamas in one person’s room in an impromptu slumber party never gets old.
•inside jokes really are the best, i.e.-cookie dough balls, first experiences, and wanna be cowboys.
•sitting in a hot tub during a hail storm is a lot funnier when there is a pregnant lady huddled in the corner under an umbrella trying to be a good sport.
•connecting with old friends from you past can feed your soul, but it can make the trip feel very short and will have you daydreaming about the next one.