It has come to my attention (thanks, Lucinda!) that I never really finished the reunion with Mr. High School story. I leapt from the moments before our face-to-face meeting to The Harry/Sally Question without much mention of our actual meeting. Mostly, that's because I thought up that ridiculous line about my Hairy Aunt Sally and was so proud of it, I simply had to use it somewhere right that minute.
But there's also the fact that an event of this magnitude--the object of so very much insane anticipation and huge expectations--couldn't help but be a little, teensy,weensy bit anticlimactic, right? And it was, a little, but it also wasn't at all.
Part of the reason I haven't written about the weekend in any kind of specifics is that everything I have to say is so wishy-washy and non-specific and even directly contradictory. These are some of the sentences I've rejected while working on this post:
--It was weird, but the weirdest part was how not weird it was.
--We talked about everything, but when I try to remember what, exactly, we talked about, all I can come up with is "everything."
--We are trying to find our place in each other's lives, but in some ways, it feels like we've been part of each other's lives this whole time.
--Is it the long overdue resolution of something old or the beginning of something new? And aren't beginnings and endings always hopelessly intertwined?
--It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... Oh wait! That wasn't me...
Friday night, I wandered over to the hotel--I was so nervous, I could barely pick my feet up. I was nervous in a way I've rarely been since, I don't know, high school. We had talked so much on the phone at this point that I felt like I knew him very well, but we hadn't seen each other in almost twenty years.
There is something about seeing someone again when you haven't seen him in so long that makes you look around your own life in a whole new way. You're seeing it through the eyes of this person who knew you way back when and, somehow, through the eyes of the person you were then. When the me of then looks in the mirror at the me of now, she's a little shocked, but she likes to think that there is some essential Me-ness in there that hasn't been changed, or that has only changed for the good: wiser, deeper maybe. But what the heck does she know? She's seventeen.
My opening line laid bare all of those insecurities. He opened the door to my knock and I said, "I feel bad for you--driving all this way to see a fat chick." His opening line let me know that the seventeen-year-old he'd been was still in there somewhere as well, "Shut the hell up and get in here."
So much for acting like mature adults. We spent the next five hours flipping through yearbooks, catching up on classmates, and I even read some of my sillier journal entries from high school out loud for him (editing for grammar and, occasionally, content when the sap got too sticky). I wandered back home around midnight, exhausted, but relieved that it had gone so well.
Saturday morning, he wanted to scope out state forest lands in the county. He has a friend who has a hunting cabin in this area and he'd heard good things about the hunting. So we set off into the woods with his handy-dandy GPS unit. We walked and talked. We rode in the car and talked. We had lunch and talked. We sat in the car on a deserted dirt road and talked. We went back to the hotel room and talked some more. I stumbled home just after midnight, exhausted again.
Sunday morning, we had breakfast with Daughter-Only tagging along. (She would never have forgiven me if she hadn't had the chance to meet Mr. High School. I warned him: "She may talk a lot or she might not say anything at all. Could go either way." She surprised me by acting normal--must be she wasn't as nervous as her mama.) He told her how relentlessly I picked on him (I picked on him?!) in eighth grade, once even tripping him and sending him falling down a flight of stairs. I said that, no, for the record, I was running from him--he was chasing me because I had stolen his hat, but only because he had snapped my bra--and I had fallen on the stairs and he then tripped over me and we ended up in a tangled mess on the landing in the stairwell, where our amused classmates stepped over us while making rude comments.
Our weekend reunion had the potential to become a whole other kind of tangled mess--this was, after all, the guy I had suffered untold* agonies over and I am, after all, married to a whole other guy. I'm happy to report that we seem to have outgrown our mutual and individual agonies--when we're together, or on the phone, the dynamic is pure buddy. We both understand and respect the rules, but more than that, the temptation to explore those "forbidden" options seems not to even be there. I care very much about him and I am happy (and, corny as it sounds, grateful) to have him in my life again, but I am, somehow, far too comfortable with him to be lusting after him. Maybe we're too old, or too much alike, maybe we know the risks and won't even dream for a split second of taking them.
Maybe I'm a complete idiot to imagine we can build a friendship on the foundation of a twenty-plus year old unfulfilled crush, but hey, it's worth a shot.
*Okay, I guess the agonies were actually told, but you know, only to my journal and to all my friends and family and, years later, to unsuspecting hapless victims, oops, I mean blog readers.