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One Day There Will Be a Title Here
by Stefi Sparer
When I finally tossed my purple high school graduation cap into the air, I said goodbye to the worst four years of my life. I said goodbye to cliques and insecurities and ripped that ’05 tassel off of my car’s rearview mirror and threw it right into the trash. High school was out; College was in. I wouldn’t miss the drama or the gossip or those terrible football games where no one scores a goal. “Life could begin now”. Or whatever it is that “they” say.
High school had been disappointing for me, to say the least. My generation was spoon-fed Amy Heckerling movies like Clueless when I was younger and, consequently fell in love with the idea of high school and the witty banter and 90210 inspired couture that supposedly came with it. When I was four, I distinctly remember pretending my cubby in pre-school was a high school locker. I couldn’t wait for high school. I was gonna be a cheerleader! Popular! Big breasted!
As it turned out, I liked reading too much to be a cheerleader and I wasn’t big breasted enough to be popular. I quickly learned that high school isn’t as much fun as Heckerling’s Sean Penn infested Ridgemont High. By the second week of my freshman year there I also seemed to have outgrown high school and the people who were stuck there with me. I spent my math classes dreaming about life outside of the windowless brick building that smells an awful lot like a jock strap.
I’d been out of high school two years and banished it out of my mind along with the time I saw my Chemistry teacher in a restaurant and Mariah Carey’s Glitter fiasco when someone reminded me of my time in the stinker.
“I’ll be in town this weekend,” my friend attending Stanford with some help from Daddy told me one weekend last year. Her father had donated so much to the university to counter her below superb grades and SAT scores I was surprised her dorm hadn’t been renamed in her honor. “We should hit up the high school.”
I gawked into my phone, “…Why?”
“Because I miss it! Don’t you?”
“No! How could you miss it?” I asked, horrified, “It was a awful!” She was a drama geek, so I couldn’t imagine high school was any better for her than it was for me; a book nerd who wrote for the school paper.
“I’m also singing at the school choir concert this Saturday,” she explains, “I asked and the choir teacher said I could come back and sing a solo as a former student!”
“As an alumna?” I ask.
“Yeah, an alumni!”
“No, alumna,” I explain. “The word ‘Alumni’ is plural.”
She is silent for a few beats. “Whatever,” she finally breaks it, “You should come!”
I’m suddenly reminded of those kids who graduated high school years before who returned to see a school play or concert and how weird I thought they were. Always lurking around campus trying to relive their glory days as the first chair trombonist.
“Why are they here?” someone, usually me, would always ask.
“Don’t they have a life?” someone would counter.
“These people need to let go!” my friend Laura tells me one night over the phone. I had just picked up my freshman sister from softball practice at my old high school and called to tell her that I had spotted an old classmate hanging out around campus. They had explained they were just “catching up” with teachers and kids who hadn’t yet graduated. “Pathetic!” Laura continues.
I agree with her, but can’t help to feel a twinge of sadness for these people who obviously aren’t making the best out of their university experience.
“I really like writing,” a kid tells our Journalism professor on the first day of college after class, “So newspaper is just something I’d really like to continue. I was the editor in chief of my high school’s…”
The professor cuts him off, “Everyone was.”
Some people just can’t let go of the past.
“You have to go to your high school reunion,” my dentist, Julie, tells me over dinner. She’s a family friend and every Wednesday we go out to eat. “I went to my last one and, it had been twenty years but the same stupid jocks who got high and bumped chests as a hobby were still high and still bumping chests at the reunion!” She puts her fork down, “Have you ever seen fat, greasy, forty-year-old men bump chests? You have to! It’s wicked!”
I had never before considered going to my high school reunion. I can already tell you who gets fat, who gets skinny (if only from lipo); who is poor and who is wealthy. I can tell you who became a drug dealer, a failed muscian, a Target team member, and a porn star if only because I went to the same high school as everyone else in the world. Not the glorified high school that makes its way onto movie screens and television sets, but the gritty, disgusting, dismal, and depressing high school that forces kids to wear short shorts on cold winter days for PE and give speeches on dead presidents and bad literature. I know that in ten years, when I see these people again –if I see these people again-, everything will have stayed the same. We’ll all mingle in the same crowds, albeit this time with legal alcohol.
In twenty years some of the graduating class of 2005 will be divorced, regretting that tattoo they got on their Vegas trip, pregnant, lonely, but probably not successful. Not yet. Well, actually, I will be.
“How on earth did you do it?” someone who isn’t making fun of me in the corner of our former gym will ask.
“Oh, I paid in sweat,” I will laugh heartily. My famous fiancé will smile and hold my hand. “[We] are so happy” as quoted via a “close-source” to People Magazine. Can’t you tell by our fabulously capped teeth?
Stephanie and her fabulous fiance will be appearing the March 29th issue of the National Enquirer. In 2020.