Jessi asked me the strangest question today. Not to date myself or anything, but this school year marks the 10th anniversary of the class of ’02. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a reunion scheduled, and for as small as our school was, I’m not really expecting an invitation. For some reason, Jessi thought it would be a good idea to go.
“If we have our 10 year reunion this year, will you go with me?” she asked. She waited several seconds to give my premature wrinkles a chance to develop and then added, “…as my date?”
The word “reunion” sent an expected wave of nausea through me. I had four whole friends in high school and one of those turned all evil-back-stabbing-witch on me. Jessi and I spent so much time together growing up that by our senior year, pretty much the whole school thought we were bumping it. We got teased about it some, talked about behind our backs a lot, and Jessi got into more than one fight. But the word “date” settled on my stomach like a welcome antacid tablet.
“We probably wouldn’t get an invitation,” I said.
“Fuck them,” she answered. “Since when do we need an invitation? And that’s bullshit anyway. They just take the names out of the yearbook or something.”
Amusement teased a smile out of me. Jessi never did care what anyone else thought, besides me, anyway. I could imagine us on the dance floor, working it for the nervous eyes that would dart away furtively when we turned their direction. Flirting, hanging at her side, sitting too close at the dining table, wearing each others’ name tags, they were all things I could do comfortably. We’ve even kissed before and I wouldn’t really mind that again.
“I don’t get it,” I frowned over my grin. “You hated high school. Why would you want to go face those people again?”
“I don’t know. Missy might be there, and Billy and Jeff,” she offered.
I thought it over. Jeff maybe. Billy lives a couple hundred miles away now, and there wasn’t a lot of love lost between him and the Great Falls student body either.
“No way Missy would be caught dead if Tyler’s there,” I said. “You know he’d go.”
“Yeah,” Jessi nodded. “You’re probably right.”
Missy and Tyler were an item for the longest time, but it didn’t last through our senior year. He’s one of those guys who always says really nice stuff to girls, but then ten minutes later he doesn’t remember a word you said to him. In one ear, out the other. He was pretty cute I guess, but I never understood why Missy stayed with him, or why she wasted the emotion to carry a grudge after they split up. It wasn’t like he ever wasted a lot on her.
“Maybe it’s not such a hot idea,” Jessi said. “We’d have to take you shopping. I want my date looking hot, and sorry, that shit you call a wardrobe?” She rolled her eyes in the direction of my bedroom and made a face.
It’s true I don’t dress up much. I have some really pretty dresses, but Jessi insists it’s all last century. I can’t really argue since Nana bought me most of them. I rarely wear anything besides jeans and shirts anyway so I never really cared.
“That actually sounds fun,” I said, not sure how much it really would be. “We haven’t been shopping in a long time.”
“Ooh, brave girl,” she cooed.
“You act like I’m afraid of clothes or something,” I said indignantly.
Jessi laughed. “No just nice ones.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. Maybe there was some truth to that. There was a reason Nana bought all my dresses. I was always afraid of Daddy’s comments on anything I wore. Daddy and I haven’t spoken in several years now, but the fear of his condescension is something I’ll probably always live with.
“I can look perfectly ‘hot’ if I want to,” I said icily, accenting the word with a shake of my shoulders.
“So you’d be my date then?” Jessi asked.
I pulled my head back and shrugged. “Sure, I guess.” I didn’t see the harm in agreeing to something that was never going to happen anyway. “But only if you promise to clean up your mouth.”
She flashed her pixie grin at me and got up. She walked over and bent down to kiss me, stuffing something into my hand that she’d pulled from the back pocket of her jeans. I looked down to see an envelope with a Great Falls High emblem and a return address from someone named Myra. She’d had an invitation the whole time!
“It’s a promise,” she half-curtsied. “Don’t worry. We’ve got a couple months to find you something to wear.”
© 2011 Anne Schilde