About three weeks ago or so, I went on a weekend cabin trip, and my subconscious mind decided to play dirty with me. Preying on my naturally curious nature, my mind decided – without warning – that I was going to have to come up with a high school classmate’s last name. She was not a classmate that I knew personally – though I knew “of” her, since she was fairly popular. Blonde permed hair that looked as though she used a light socket to generate the waves (hey it was the late 1980s), she was a cheerleader, she was on the homecoming court. She was everything that I wasn’t. I tried staying out of the spotlight, I was in band, I was quiet, mostly kept to myself, had just a handful of friends, didn’t go out “partying” and didn’t even have any dates in high school. Nope, the boys didn’t exactly beat down my door! And looking back on all of that? That was perfectly fine! I was WAY too mixed up and needed to get to know myself a lot better before I got into a romantic relationship with another human, which I would do during college.
Well, I won the grand subconscious trivia contest by managing to remember her last name (which I will not reveal here). So – being the naturally and morbidly curious beast that I am – I decided I was going to go down “that” rabbit hole. We all have our rabbit holes, you see. Those things that might contain painful memories, secrets, faces and names of people you both liked and hated. Yeah…I’m talking about the “high school rabbit hole.” Thanks to this bizarre dream, I was “going there.” My first thought was maybe that girl had died – and maybe her spirit was trying to contact me. That did not prove to be the case, all signs pointed to this girl being alive. So what now?
I commenced my descent into the “high school memories rabbit hole” by visiting a web site where I can view marriage records and death records of people who lived in the county where I was born (just the names and dates). After inputting this girl’s name, I learned that she was married twice (at least in that particular county). Then I learned from viewing her Facebook profile that she is seemingly living a happy, family-oriented life. Yes, I know things presented to others on Facebook can be deceiving. But an image of her and her entire family wearing ugly Christmas sweaters spoke volumes. This person is living a life vastly different from mine. Just like she did when she and I were in high school.
From there, I proceeded to poke around a bit more to find out what my high school classmates were up to. I viewed a Facebook page representing my high school graduation year, and from that, I learned A LOT. I learned that a few of my classmates had died (this is an important plot point), learned that there was a recent 25 year reunion, learned that some of my high school classmates haven’t changed a bit, learned that one of them was convicted a homicide a few years ago.
I didn’t decide to join this particular Facebook group, since there is only so far I’m willing to go into THIS rabbit hole! I didn’t want to rekindle any old connections, I really didn’t even want to let a majority of these people even know that I exist. I was a bit of a shy wallflower in high school anyway, so let’s keep the streak of not knowing that I exist continue! I have only 10 people total on my Facebook friends list that either attended my high school the same time I did or whom I was friends with from high school. And that is by choice.
I attended one high school reunion – and that was my 10 year reunion. At this reunion, I confronted a classmate who used to bully me, wound up becoming friends (briefly) with a former cheerleader (no, not THAT one) and even wound up dancing a bit. There is a five drink minimum for THAT to happen!
And that experience was enough for me. I didn’t want to know about future reunions, I didn’t want to reconnect with any former classmates.
None of that doesn’t mean I’m still not bit nosy! Regarding those dead classmates, one of them was a guy who died a few years ago. From my Facebook stalking I learned that he had a fiancee when he died, and when I entered her name in the county clerk’s web site, I learned that she married someone else a few years later. That person’s name struck a chord with me – he was a guy I absolutely HATED in high school and still continue to hate with the same passion as I did when I wore a Guess denim jacket and carried a can of Aqua Net hair spray in my gym bag. That hatred hasn’t died. This was a guy who made fun of me, repeatedly harassed me when I was by my locker, and I suspect he played a part in leaving a very nasty note in my locker. And this guy was friends with the guy who died.
Hmmm….HMMMM! So you snapped up your dead buddy’s girl, huh? For the record, I never had a problem with the guy who died. As far as jocks go, he was one of the nicer ones and never bothered me. I’m pretty sure I’d known him since at least middle school.
Well, well well! I can’t abide this guy having this level of happiness! If I were a woman who dabbled in witchcraft, I would certainly step up my game right about now and do everything in my power to make sure this guy doesn’t stay happy.
But you know what? I’m not going there. Let him be. He’s been tortured enough (horrible ATV accident a few years after high school). Plus, he didn’t log his first marriage until he was almost 50 (at least not according to county records). I’ve mellowed out just a bit with age. But if I ever, ever see this guy again?
I’m going to make sure he becomes my new best friend! Whether he likes it – or not. And he will have to listen to ALL of my high school stories. The ones where he was the antagonist.
And that is why it’s never, ever a good idea for me to go down the “high school memories” rabbit hole! In the words of Will Smith…
The friends that I have now are the ones who really, really matter to me. I don’t give a f— about people I said goodbye to when I graduated high school. Though I’ll never stop being morbidly curious about them! And maybe, just maybe…I’ll send a friend request to that cute boy who wound up being a rock star and got a perm in high school!