By Melodee Currier
There are a variety of reasons people go to high school reunions. Some want to catch up with old friends they haven’t seen in years, some want to see and be seen, and some are looking for closure with a former friend or love. I wanted closure.
This story begins forty-five years ago in Pompano Beach, Florida when I left my high school fiancé to attend secretarial school in New York City. Since he was a year younger than me, he still had his senior year of high school to complete. Our plan was that he would attend Penn State after he graduated from high school, I would join him, get a job as a secretary at Penn State and we would get married – and live happily ever after.
They say long distance romances are usually destined for failure and ours was no exception. Soon after arriving in the Big Apple, I started dating and I’m sure he wasn’t just watching TV waiting for me his senior year of high school. And so our relationship drifted in different directions.
After he graduated from high school, he went to Penn State as planned, but we never saw each other again. I called him once while he was there and talked about coming to visit him, but within days of that call, I met my first husband and never spoke to him again.
When I heard that our high school classes were having a combined 45th reunion, and he RSVP’d that he and his wife would be there, my husband and I decided to go too. I was apprehensive about seeing him after so many years, after all, I wasn’t 17 anymore — but I had so many questions and wanted to hear all about his life.
Soon after arriving at the reunion, I caught a glimpse of him and was surprised to see he looked very much like he did in high school. As we passed each other on the walkway I called his name. He stopped, looked at me and said, “Melodee Leven….wasn’t it???” I was stunned and offended. Is this the same guy that didn’t want any other guys to sign my yearbook and cried like a baby the night before I left for New York City? His reaction was so unexpected, it caught me off guard. It didn’t seem possible he could forget me — his former fiancé. Hadn’t he told his wife about me? So many thoughts went through my mind.
Although he and his wife spent a lot of time with my husband and me during the reunion weekend, most of the time we didn’t talk – and what little conversation we did have was superficial. The funny thing is, I recall that is the way he was in high school too, but it didn’t bother me then. When you’re a teenager and all you want is a guy who wears madras and Bass Weejuns and is a great kisser, it should be no surprise that they’re not talkative too.
I left the reunion disappointed. There were so many words left unsaid. And there was no going back.
Several months after the reunion I had an “Aha!” moment while telling a friend this story. Hearing myself complain, I suddenly realized that I alone had the power to create the closure I wanted by letting go of my expectations. Just seeing him again at the reunion after all those years was enough. I didn’t need to know the details of his life which may have been interesting — or not. It’s empowering and freeing to realize you can always create your own ending by adjusting your expectations.
© 2016 Melodee Currier
Mel Currier left corporate America in 2008 where she was an intellectual
property paralegal. Since then she has devoted her time to writing and has
had numerous articles published on a wide variety of topics. Her articles
can be read on her website www.melodeecurrier.com. Mel is an occasional contributor to True Stories Well Told.