The Paperback Edition…
I hesitated at the bottom of the stairs, and the very nice young man who had already parked my car was suddenly right next to me.
“There’s a ramp off to the side, ma’am.” He said helpfully and then dashed away to park another car.
“Oh…thanks, dear, I’m fine. I was just…uh…admiring the building…but thanks.” I said to his disappearing back.
I can do stairs, I thought, if I do them slowly. I just don’t like to do stairs.
I casually waited until a group of much younger people zipped around me and up the steps.
Then I took a deep breath and slowly and hopefully without attracting too much attention…climbed the six stairs to the front doors…which were being opened for guests by pretty, young girls with welcoming smiles on their faces.
Youth. You can’t beat it.
I hadn’t been to a class reunion since Mel and I had gone to our ten-year reunion. It had been such a joke.
How is it possible for so many people to not change after ten years?
The boring little cliques still existed and they had made every possible attempt to be ‘noticed’. The more liquor they had consumed…the louder they became.
Mel and I had left early that night many years ago and vowed never to attend another reunion…ever. But things change. Life changes…and here I am.
I walked over to the official registration table…and offered a friendly hello to…leaning in to read her name tag…squinting a little…ahhh…Pat Duncan (Stokes) it said…
Who was Pat Duncan (Stokes)? Yes! Now I remembered…she was a Homecoming queen candidate when we both were seniors and she had married Jerry Stokes…her steady boyfriend all thru high school.
“Hi, Pat!” I said confidently.
“Hi, Samantha Jones. Glad you could make this one!” she said cheerfully.
I was so surprised. For a short minute, I thought…had I not changed? Did I really look like I had in high school? And then seeing the surprised look on my face, Pat grinned and pointed to the “THEN & NOW’ board.
There I saw a current picture of me…and that ninth-grade photo of me and Mel.
“Everyone has been talking about that picture of you and Melanie,” Pat said. “So cute!”
She handed me a name-tag. It said…Sam Jones (Alison)
“Thanks, Pat.” I said politely, taking the tag from her. I saw no reason to mention the wrong name on the tag.
I walked over to the side of the main entry, casually threw my name tag in the trash, pulled out a chair from a small table and sat down to wait for Melanie.
So far I would give this class reunion a C+…although Pat Duncan (Stokes) had been really sweet.
I hooked my cane and purse over the side arm of the chair and leaned back to wait. I had a really good look at everyone who was coming.
They all looked so festive…I had my own private ‘red carpet’ viewing seat.
Then my cell phone rang and three people near me almost jumped out of their skin…frowning at me big time.
Oh, crap! This morning I had turned my cell up as loud as it could go…with the loudest and most annoying ring tone I could find. I hadn’t wanted to miss any of Melanie’s calls today.
I quickly turned the volume off and then I looked at the screen. It was Melanie. Oh, this can’t be good…not at this time, I thought.
“Please don’t kill me Sam…I can’t be there tonight! Janet just had a heart attack and we’re on our way to the hospital!”
“We’re right behind the ambulance! I was with her when it happened, Sam. It was so horrible! I can’t talk…I am so sorry, Sam! I’ll call you later.”
“Mel! Wait!! Did you find out if Bob…” I was talking to a dead line.
Mel had hung up.