Yearbook [ 2006-01-11, 7:45 p.m. ]

Way back in 2002 I started trolling the internet for any information about my [then] upcoming 10-year high school reunion. I registered with Classmates.com and reunion.com, and sure enough, found a notice indicating when my reunion was to be held. Through no real intention, after high school I lost touch with most of my friends and nestled into college. After college, I lost touch with even more people and nestled into New York. In the ten years since high school graduation, I couldn't remember seeing or talking to a single one of my friends from school. This makes me sound awful, I know, but I had gone in a different direction and back when it would have really helped to solidify some of those friendships, email was but a fantasy, saved for those who had something called "a modem."

My point is that because I had left high school behind, I had no way to find out about the reunion on my own, which led to the registration on those particularly frustrating websites. Frustrating because you can reach a point where you are staring at the names of people who were once very important for whatever reason, and you click on them and NOTHING HAPPENS, which is cruel and awful. I want to click on a name and see who got fat and who got sad and who got married and who got on with things and who got left out. I want pictures, data, credentials, the works. Classmates.com disagreed.

I registered for my reunion and showed up shaking and nervous, and I ended up having a great time. That was over three years ago, but as a result of trolling those wank websites back in 2002, my in-box still gets email from them. I get emails telling me that someone has been searching for me! I feel elated and excited! I click the link, and discover that No, No one is searching for me, there have been zero views of my profile, there is no new information to share and no upcoming events. But the emails keep coming, and every time I get an email from reunion.com or classmates.com, I think, Someone from my past is in love with me and desperately searching! No one ever is.

This has nothing to do with anything, by the way. And is going nowhere.

I wouldn't have had to troll the wank websites if our class president hadn't been a flake. She graduated, ran off to New York to study drama, and that's the last anyone ever heard of her. I, on the other hand, waited until after college to make my escape. Since the class president was/is AWOL, our reunion ended up being planned by a very nice girl with whom I swam and played when I was six. She didn't even graduate with our class; it turns out that while I thought she had transferred to another high school, she actually had left school because she was pregnant. She had the baby, got her GED, went to college, got married, had three more kids, lived happily ever after, and then planned our high school reunion. Go figure.

After the reunion I stayed in touch with a few friends; two came to my wedding with their husbands and boyfriends and we're now back to the Christmas Card stage in the relationships. If I lived in California, I would like very much to see them more, but in all honestly, the next time I see those girls will probably be our 15-year reunion, and please someone tell me how I got to a point in my life at which high school is FIFTEEN years in my past? My brother graduated four years after me, which means his ten-year reunion is this year. And, since he was the class president, he is in charge of planning it, and I have made clear to him how strongly I DO NOT recommend the Holiday Inn off of 680. It was very nice to see my old classmates but I do not ever need to see what a Holiday Inn banquet room in Concord , CA looks like evermore.

I always forget that my brother and I went to the same high school, because he was a freshman the same year I went to college and my memory of high school is frozen with him most definitely not in the picture. But all my brothers went to the same high school as me, and the oddest phenomenon of late is that as my brothers get engaged and marry off, I am attending parties for them and meeting the younger siblings and cousins of all my classmates. My youngest brother got engaged not long ago, and there was an engagement party for him right after Thanksgiving -- I spent time on my parents' deck drinking wine with big lumpy boys who were playing Little League the last time I saw them. And now were my social equals. Able to buy and consume all of the same beverages as me. Talking about what we do for a living. Making small talk with my grandmother. Life is funny.

The oldest of my brothers is getting married in March. I am thrilled beyond belief because I adore his fiancée and she makes him happy and blah blah blah rainbows and kittens. But, I have a secret confession: I am also thrilled because I am a bridesmaid, along with a girl named Jenny, who is a good friend of my brother and his fiancée. Jenny went to my high school, and was a year younger than my brother. Jenny's older brothers were in high school at the same time as me. Jenny's oldest brother was the quarterback of the football team and pitcher for the baseball team and the homecoming king, and once, on a field trip in junior high, he and his best friend sat behind me on the bus (my last name starts with "O", as does his; the friend's starts with "P" so we were often seated together) and made fun of me the whole way, calling me Molly Almond Head and things like that. That brother is now a big fatty, and I am cute and live in New York and have risen Beyond High School and will be the hottest bridesmaid at the wedding, and Jenny will have pictures, and her brother will see them, and he will RUE THE DAY he sat behind me on the bus and made fun of me.

The friend, by the way, is also a fatty, has at least two kids with at least two different women and was fired from his job as a fireman for drunkenness. Or so the gossip mill tells me. Since I live 3,000 miles away, my gossip is fifth-hand and much-diluted. Still, aging well is a good feeling.

Sure, I am married and old and stuff, but I still want to look good at my brother’s wedding. At my own wedding, you see, I was pre-occupied and wearing the big white dress. I learned last April just how much more fun it can be when you are the bridesmaid rather than the bride, and while I enjoyed getting married, I am done with the Virginal White. When V told me she picked red dresses for the bridesmaids, I thought, YESSS, if Jenny shows her brother pictures, I will LOOK GOOD. I will also look good in front of my brother’s Monkey Friends, which kind of squiks me out. On the one hand, I like the idea of posing in formal pictures with Mike and Johnny and Emiliano (who, by the way, are Drama, Turtle and Vince in the “Entourage” of my brothers’ life – my brother is the Eric.) and looking considerably better than the last time they saw me. But on the other hand, these are the same little shits who vomited in my kitchen sink, had fart contests and used to steal my underwear. Kind of a mixed bag on that one.

I got an email from V the other day, and she said, I just really love your family. Things like that make me realize that beyond the attempt to look hot for ex-classmates, M’s wedding day means that I am finally getting my little sister! I complained when I was a kid about having three younger brothers, sighing dramatically and rolling my eyes at “the boys” whenever the opportunity presented itself. And it presented itself often. But only recently did it occur to me that now – when I really, really appreciate it – do I get my sisters. It’s the kind of thing that makes me homesick, because I feel like I get a big, giant Do-Over. I left California awkward and with one pair of jeans from Old Navy, leaving behind three teenage brothers. How great would it be to go back now, grown up, married, happy, to reclaim my hometown and home state as someone with brothers who all have careers and their own standing mixers, someone with SISTERS, who knows how to tweeze her brows and roast a turkey? It sounds kind of great.

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