What caught my eye this time were a couple of friends who had posted photos from our 30th high school class reunion, held in California this past weekend. I graduated 30 years ago? Let me be banal and say, oh my God, has it been that long? It doesn't seem that long ago! Yeah. But, facts are facts and the numbers add up and, sweet mother of God, 30 years have slipped on by...
I couldn't actually attend the event, for one because California is a long and expensive way away from here, and for another, I'm still working at this time of year. But, looking at the photos was really an amazing experience. I mean, first of all, I can't recognise a lot of the faces. Who are these people? Did I once know them? I went to high school in a small agricultural town and there were only 80 of us in my graduating class. I should be able to remember 80 people that I went to school with every day...
Others are quite recognisable, although how they have aged is quite unpredictable. Let's just say...differently. Some have put on weight, some have buffed up their muscle tone (mostly the women!), some have lost hair, some look like grandparents (some ARE grandparents) and some, scariest of all, look exactly the same! What drugs are they taking for that effect, I wonder?
But all in all, as I perused the photos I was thinking, looks like a lot of nice people having a nice time together. And as I clicked to the next, next, next photo, one caught my eye. A closeup of two people I was sure I had never seen before in my life. Nice looking couple, but who are they? Gasp! A glance at the man's name-tag stopped me dead in my clicking.
That, that, that's my ex-boyfriend! My very first boyfriend! My high school sweetheart! And I didn't even recognise him. I mean, he could have passed me by in the street and I would never have known who he was.
I've cut his wife/girlfriend (don't know, don't need to know) out of the photo just to maintain her privacy. Not because I want to cut her out of his life in any metaphorical sense...knock those thoughts right out of your head! I am really glad he has a significant other with whom he looks to be very happy. Because I'm the one who broke up with him...and I have been carrying the residual guilt around with me for years!
He still looks like the sweet guy he was way back then, doesn't he? How could anyone break up with such a sweet and kind and wonderful person? We had our whole life mapped out. He would continue to work at the place where he worked after school and I would study library sciences at the nearest university and then return to our small town and become the city librarian. We would have two children, our own home, you get the idea. We had a plan.
But, somewhere along the line, I realised that the plan wasn't what I really wanted. I wanted to travel the world, learn foreign languages, dance the tango in Buenos Aires, be a TV news reporter, and write books about all my crazy misadventures! All that wasn't going to happen if I stayed with him in that comfortable life in that small agricultural town.
And so, I broke up with him.
It was bad news, as breakups generally are, 'cause feelings get hurt, misunderstandings abound and there are bad feelings on both sides. But, at the time, it seemed to make more sense to break up earlier rather than later. Since I knew that that life wasn't the life I was really dreaming of, it seemed better, more fair, to be honest about it and do it sooner.
So, seeing those pictures today brought all those old and distant memories and feelings back to me and I'm feeling kind of melancholy, but satisfied, nonetheless. I'm glad I knew and loved that boy 30 years ago, and I'm so, so sorry if I hurt him, but I made the right decision. If I hadn't done it then, I wouldn't be here amid the olive trees today, now would I?