Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The 10-Year Reunion (in one gulp)

On Sunday morning, none of us were cheering our age…but that was only because of the ravages of some well-deserved hangovers. 

Otherwise, ten years out felt good.  Surreal, occasionally disorienting, but good.  Much as I may whine about the process, there are some really nice things that come from growing up, one of which is having a group of friends with a long enough history that we're all accepting of each other.

You know...the type of friends who, even when they say they'll arrive in time for dinner on Friday, I know from the minute plans are made will be way, way later than that…


It was 9:00 when Marissa rolled in, 9:30 for Kathryn, and after a quick dinner at Molly's and a drive-by Slider hit ("It's $2 Fireball shots because it's raining!" I said, more times than was necessary.  One of the many things my friends accept about me is that I'm like a dog with a bone over anything I want or like, Fireball and Slider falling into both of those categories respectively).  Except I didn't get a shot because I was driving…which is why we had to go back for a second round of $2 shots after we picked up Crystal from the airport. 

We were staying close enough to walk home if we needed to. 

But we didn't.


Megan (and crew), Crystal, Becky, Kathryn
We slept in, although "sleeping in" at 32 doesn't mean what it did at 22. 

Rhodes by 11:00, first wandering around the Rat (whoa to that renovation), meeting up with Megan at Hassell Hall (it took us a minute to remember where that was), checking out our old apartment in East Village (the girls who live there now graciously humored our description of the Hot Guy Wall that used to lead to the bathroom, "back when Prince William had hair" and Heath Ledger was alive), and then got lost in Williford, where dudes now live on the ground floor.  Crystal commented that we may not have been such social rejects had Williford been a co-ed dorm when we lived in it our freshman year.  But upon reflection that may have just been wishful thinking on Crystal's part…

Back to the Rat for our alumni "picnic," moved indoors because of rain.  One look at the memorial book for Kara on the Class of '04 table and I lost it…so quickly, quickly to food and Bloody Marys.  Crystal and I huddled together over a stack of pictures that Megan brought (how did Meg have so many pictures from college?!), fascinated by how young we looked but also trying to avoid eye contact with any classmates we weren't yet ready to talk to.  Some people looked the same.  Some people looked old.  Some we couldn't place no matter how hard we tried. 

Ten years is a long time.

To the football game to hear Meg sing with alumnae from the all-girls a cappella group, then the bookstore, then Bellingrath, which looked the same, smelled the same, felt the same.  Home, Huey's for dinner, and then…the reunion.

We rented out Ernestine and Hazel's for three hours and though it was loud, crowded (over half of our class showed up), and completely overwhelming (seriously, I had forgotten about so many of these people and maybe there was a reason for that), it was undeniably fun.  And then Greta showed up and it got even more fun.  Beer, vodka shots for Kara, upstairs to see the creepiness, downstairs to make sure we were all getting drunk, talking, talking, happy, upstairs, more vodka, more creepiness (if you've been there you know), and the things that we said, and the laughs we couldn't contain, and we didn't do this back in college.

"I'm so glad we didn't do this in college," Megan said.  "Because it means more now."

And she (all of us) may have been intoxicated, but it was true.  It was good. 

And Kara would have been proud.

We made it to Silky's (with not enough room in Marissa's car, Kathryn and I walked, me ditching my shoes at one point because my feet hurt, but then putting them back on later because it was a pain toss-up between heels and harsh concrete), paying $5 to get in but not staying long, not even getting a drink, and Megan wasn't happy we'd paid only to leave. 

And then we dropped Meg off at her hotel and the rest of us went home and we talked until 3:30 in the morning, which, for a bunch of 32-year-olds, was really, really late…


Marissa, Becky, Greta
I wanted everyone to go to Slider for brunch for a reason, but in the way that such things happen, things were off from start to finish in every possible way at the Slider Inn that morning (make that afternoon - we were there for three hours, much of it spent in a hungover, silent stupor, Megan repeatedly expressing disgust that I was drinking a Bloody Mary, though clearly the only option more repulsive at that point was not drinking one).   Before we left, we signed a book for Kara's parents, and then Megan and family left.  And then it was only a quick reprieve before dropping Greta off so she could leave.  For Kathryn, Marissa, Crystal, and me it was Republic Coffee (we were almost too tired for conversation), a walk down the greenline, leaving Crystal to talk with a friend, killing time at Boscos, dinner at Memphis Pizza Cafe, and then back…bed by 8:45…


Crystal's flight was at 7:15 a.m., so she and I left for the airport at 5:45.  Kathryn left around 9:00, and Marissa just before lunchtime.  And that was it.  It was over.  Not nearly as traumatizing as the last time, but bizarre nonetheless.  In intensity and in scope.  Like, how are we all real people now?  How did we all survive these interim years and turn into adults?  How can we be the same and yet not the same and yet still get along so well? 

I came out of the weekend feeling grounded, grateful, and at peace, with who I am, who I'm becoming, and with leaving behind the person I once wanted to be.  I wouldn't have gone to that college now.  I wouldn't have paid that much, and I wouldn't have bought into the elitism.  I'm not her - she's gone.

But I did go to that college then.  And it shaped me.  And I don't regret any of it.  Most importantly, it brought some incredible people into my life. 

It was good.  It was fun.

What a weekend.

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