Growing up, I went to a small K-8 elementary school in California. We were a very close group of kids and with the help of facebook a few of us do a decent job of keeping in touch as adults.
When I got off the plane from NY to CA, I had a facebook message from one of my childhood classmates.
Hey, I’m having a little reunion get together at my parents house. If you’re in town tomorrow, please stop by!
As someone who hasn’t even had a high school Reunion yet, I was completely caught off guard. I’ve always thought that by the time I got the the “reunion phase” of my life, I’d be super skinny. I imagined I’d be the one who walked into the room in a ridiculous form fitting dress and then people would scream “Oh My GOD! I didn’t even recognize you!!!”
Yeah… that definitely would not be the case.
The party started at 8pm and at 9:05 I had changed outfits three times and still didn’t have any makeup on. My phone started chiming with “where are you?” text messages, so I finally settled on a pair of jeans, a grey tank top, a burgundy cardigan (and some Spanx… lets not forget that). I ran the flat iron through my hair, did a quick cosmetics application and at 9:45 I was taking a deep breath and ringing the doorbell.
There’s something amazing about being with old friends. I was greeted with warm hugs from people who I have a strong history with and any thoughts of my weight quickly melted away. I placed my purse on the couch and headed to the kitchen for a glass of wine. As I turned the corner I almost collided with someone who was on their way out of the kitchen. I looked up and saw a tall man with curly red hair. There was only one person from my childhood who had curly red hair… Kevin Howard.
“Wow, how are you?” he said sweeping me up in a huge hug.
“I- I’m fine, thanks.” I felt my heart flutter which was a ridiculous yet familiar feeling.
When you know someone from age five to age thirteen, your views of them change drastically during that time. My early memories of Kevin are pretty hazy because he was a boy and I didn’t talk to boys. But when we hit puberty, things changed. Around the 6th grade, things felt different with Kevin than with the other boys in my class, but I couldn’t wrap my 11 year old head around what exactly it was that I felt. I can remember coming home with my little yearbook on the last day of school and being horrified when my Mother pointed out that there were hearts around my face and Kevin’s face in the class photo. I knew I hadn’t done it, which could only mean he had. I spent the whole summer looking at those hearts and wondering if Kevin liked me, but as a chubby girl I just didn’t think it was possible.
In 7th and 8th grade Kevin was a one of many boys that I spent my days flirting with at school and my nights chatting with on the phone. Things still felt different with him, but I wasn’t sure how to handle it. So I did what any logical 12 year old would do… I set him up to “go out” with my best friend and then sat around miserable as I watched them holding hands at lunch.
All of that came rushing back as we stood in the kitchen grinning at each other and catching up. Then I heard a voice from the living room, “WHERE’S CECE?” There was an entire party going on outside the kitchen but I was so caught up in my nostalgic flirt-fest that I’d forgotten.
“I guess we should mingle,” I said reluctantly.
“I guess so… after you,” Kevin gestured for me to lead the way.
Overall the party was a great time, it was awesome to catch up with everyone and get updates on kids, grad school, careers etc. At the end of the night, as I said goodbye to everyone Kevin offered to walk me to my car.
“How long are you in town?” he asked.
“Till New Years…”
“Cool, maybe we can do something while you’re here.”
“That would be awesome,” I replied.
We exchanged numbers, hugged again and then I pulled away in my car. As I drove home, my mind began to wander. I always second guess myself when it comes to men and their intentions. How many times have I sensed that a guy was interested in me, only to have nothing come of it? Would all of this be different if I were thin? Is that what’s been holding him back all these years?
Kevin could simply be looking to reconnect with an old friend, but there’s chemistry between us that hasn’t changed since junior high school and I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t there.
Only time would tell….
Part Two of this story is here
Part Three of this story is here
Part Four of this story is here