I’m the last person who would sign up for a high school reunion, but I freely admit I am curious to know what happened to everyone. Maybe I could just read the book (or wait for the movie). It would be fun to know if some of the high school girlfriends got married (and whether they are still married or twice divorced by now). There’s also the fantasy where the goody two shoes girl who could do nothing wrong got busted on a prostitution charge, but that never happens. She really was perfect, and still is, although she has paid a tremendous price by enduring 30 years of therapy to try to feel like something approaching normal. I have some perverse curiosity about whether Doug still plays the trombone and was Barry really gay or just pretending to be. We didn’t even use the word gay back then! Do the former majorettes still have thighs that can mesmerize me, or are those days gone forever?
Back in my hometown on one of my infrequent visits, I heard a woman’s name mentioned that I knew was familiar. She was the mother of a high school classmate who was a good friend. I approached and explained that I had gone to high school with her daughter. She remembered me and we struck up a conversation.
“So what is she doing now?” I really wanted to know.
“She is raising llamas in Maine.”
“Wow, that’s different.”
“She loves it. She started about 5 years ago and it’s turned into quite a business, harvesting the llama wool.”
“I know she always loved animals, but it seems like a surprising career choice.”
“You never know what life has in store for you. What are you doing now?”
There it was. The big loaded question. What are you doing now? Do you tell the truth or make up the big lie? Has your life been so boring that you can’t bear to tell the truth to someone who is almost a stranger? What’s wrong with me? Why am I debating this question with myself?
“I’m running a mule team,” I replied with a straight face. “If you think wrangling llamas is difficult, try hitching a bunch of independent-minded mules to a harness and getting them to do something at the same time.”
“I’ll bet that is tricky,” the mother said. She was looking at me with a sidelong glance, maybe trying to see it if I was putting her on. “You must love it though.”
“Oh sure, I get the biggest kick out of it.” And I really meant it.
Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.