Monday, 30 June 2014

Who do you see when you look at me?

At the weekend I went to a school reunion – it’s been 30 years since we did our O levels (as they were in those days) and went our separate ways.

Of course some people never wandered far and most of us have one or two close friends we have tried to keep in contact with over the years.

The advent of Facebook has been a great way to keep in touch with a larger contingent and it was through Facebook that most of this reunion got organised.

Some of us last met at our 20 year reunion and so much seems to have happened since then, especially on a personal level for me…

…and yet we are all still very much the same people as we were all those years ago at school.

Each of us finds comfort in the groups we hung around with at school. Old cliques reform very quickly as we giggle and reminisce. There is nothing better than catching up with old friends who you shared an important part of your life with.

There are some people I don’t ever remember talking to at school so I struggle to think of what to say, I can’t recollect their names or faces, I smile politely instead. 

Talking to boys is especially a problem both then and now, I get tongue tied, tripping over my words. I don’t suppose I’ll ever really change.

And then I blurt out that my husband died and quickly wish I hadn’t but I kind of need people to know, it’s the biggest thing that has happened to me in the last ten years, it’s not pleasant to talk about and it kills the conversation. The conventional “I’m sorry” seems such a trivial thing to people say in return.

Then I over compensate, get a little louder and finally end up retreating to the dance floor lost in the 80s music – no I haven’t changed a bit since school.

However I’m told more than once I look happy and the truth is I really am.

The reunion isn’t totally as I expect it to be but nothing ever is.

I’ve worked out that as a would be writer and teller of stories I make so much up, whole conversations go on in my head that will never take place in real life because no one else knows the script except me!

Suddenly the music stops, the lights come back on and the night is over far too quickly. We agree we should meet more often, some will, some won’t. I wish I lived nearer sometimes and could join in the fun.

At the end I wonder what people think of me? What they thought of me all those years ago and if they think I’ve changed at all?

The next day photos appear on Facebook – happy smiling faces and there are one or two of me.

I like what I see very much and as my friends “like” my picture too I feel loved and know that’s all that matters in the end.

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