Friday night was my twentieth high school reunion. I found myself surprisingly nervous. I didn’t have any former bullies or old boyfriends in my class, but my whole identity in high school was theatre-theatre-theatre and my sole desire was to be the most famous actress in the world. Because of social media, most people have figured out that I quit acting when I was in college and spent my thirteen years in NYC casting circles instead of getting cast in anything. (Great pun, right? I’m so good.) Still, I worried I would be a joke. Also, I’m shy. My big personality is all show and an exhausting one at that.
The night started like a bad comedy.
My husband got stuck at work, so I was dateless at the last minute. I called my friend S, who had been my high school co-conspirator, and threatened his life if he weren’t there when I arrived. “If I get stuck in any awkward conversations because you weren’t there, no one will ever find your remains, and no jury will ever convict me because IT WILL BE JUSTIFIED.” S and his wife were running late, so I sucked it up and walked in alone.
My graduating class had only 60ish people in it, and only 20ish of them came to the reunion. This means I pretty much knew everyone’s name and was already connected with them on Facebook. Also, like I said, I had very little old beef with anyone, but it didn’t stop me from creating it in my mind.
When I arrived, I said hello to a few people at the front. One of them was a man who had run in a different circle than I had which means that even in a class of 60, we might as well have been on different continents. I hugged and greeted the welcome group, but the guy looked right past me.
I immediately wrote a story in my head about why he didn’t greet me.
I decided I must have been rude to him back in the day and he never forgave me. Then, I wrote a story in which I must have been far too strange for him to talk to back then…and must still be too strange, now. The third story involved me being completely forgettable and he didn’t remember me. Hadn’t I been the lead in the musical my senior year? Wasn’t I always the loudest in the room? What more do I have to do to be memorable????
I went into the party and had a great time. My worries about not turning into the person I sworn I’d be fell apart, quickly. I thanked my U.S. History teacher for drilling the importance of source citation because now I drive my editors crazy with footnotes, and had a long talk with our religion teacher about Pagan history and symbolism within Christianity. Some of my classmates had even bought my books. It wasn’t awkward. I even called Hilary (co-host on the podcast), who joined me as my date. All those stories I psyched myself out with were totally bunk.
One more would fall apart before I left.
After my third glass of wine, the man from the start of the party walked by. “You going to actually talk to me now?” I said.
“You totally ignored me all night!” he said.
Apparently, we had both tried to connect with the other when I arrived at the party, but had each looked the other way at the wrong time or something, and both wrote stories in our heads that the other had no use for us. Both stories turned out to be wrong. We had a great conversation, condensing our 20 year stories into delightful five minute biopics. Then, we hugged and went our separate ways.
I hope I remember that lesson the next time I write a story in my head about someone’s intentions. Those inner soliloquies about why someone spurned or overlooked us? It’s quite likely they were just looking the other way.
If you missed it on That Witch Life or on Facebook, I’m delighted to announce that my fourth book, Hekate: Goddess of Witches, will be released by Weiser in 2021! Leaving the Celtic world for the Greek Undeworld…it’s a series, Witches!