It’s Sunday morning. Day one of “I-reclaimed-my-power-after-eating-average-food-and-drinking-bad-wine-with-boys-I-went-to-school-with-20-years-ago” and I’m still in bed catching up on all my blog reading. FJ is in bed next to me, also on the computer. He’s always been the music buff in our relationship. He scoffs when I, ahem, bust-a-move to Britney in the lounge or strike a pose when I crank the Queen up. But now, I have decided to “out” this music buff. He may fool you into thinking he’s the headboy of house but right now he has no one other than the crown princess of pop blaring away. He’s attempting to explain her use of soul and funk, but the truth is, he’s become a Lady Gaga fan. I think he may actually be turning into a gay man…
So much has changed since “I-reclaimed-my-power-after-eating-average-food-and-drinking-bad-wine-with-boys-I-went-to-school-with-20-years-ago”.
So onto the reunion.
Two friends who were in the same year as I was decided to meet for a drink before the reunion so we could mentally prepare ourselves for an evening with our former classmates and teachers. I was manic and couldn’t stop talking while they both sat watching me talk about Lord knows what with a slight lack of colour in their faces. We drove to our old school all waiting for one of us to veer off and head home rather than facing the pack. But, we did it.
I spent four hours in the old school hall listening to speeches about why I should give money to the school to make it even better than it is today and watched a powerpoint presentation where I actually even featured every now and then. Seems something I did at school was worth their attention.
Let’s just say, after an evening with the boys, I realise how much I have benefited in being a gay man. Moisturising since I could walk on my own has had it’s advantages it seems. I was told by the then-first team rugby captain that I was the only guy who looked exactly as I did 20 years ago. His exact words were: “Sho you shommer look the shame as you did in shcool.” He then tried to say my surname and dribbled a bit on my shoulder.
I screamed internally but decided to take the compliment. I think that’s the nicest thing a rugby captain has ever said to me.
After smearing myself with anti-bacterial wipes (I came armed) I tucked into the creamed cauliflower and butternut and sipped on the vinegar with alcohol and caught up on everyone’s news. One guy lives in the estate I do. We made no plans to meet. I shook a lot of hands and thanked God that some of these rather large, bald-headed men were wearing name tags so
I could vaguely place them as ex-classmates. I was deeply grateful that i never sat near the back of the hall (seems things never change – the F-class were camped at the back) as the alcoholic boys with their bloated faces and red sheened cheeks got louder and crasser and attempted to regale the hall by shouting about how many classes they had bunked while at the school.
That all said, I loved reconnecting with a teacher I was incredibly close to at school and remained friends with afterwards. I loved reconnecting with the friends I loved back then in the same hall we used to sit in day in and day out. And, most of all, I loved the fact that I was no longer scared. Back then, these guys were so important. Their validation was all I craved. 20 years down the line I realised that they held no power. That what they thought about me was actually rather meaningless. That who I am is not based on their perception of me. That I’ve come a long way since then. Standing tall and proud -with no shame or excuse to proclaim that I am who I am.
And then I left.
Without saying goodbye.
I had done what I needed to do and wish them all the best.