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thin, small, brown boy

teased, always polite, did his best

managed to come alive and become open when upon this stage

it fueled him, gave him a reason every time he stood there

it hurt to not feel like that all the time

as the years went on, his confidence grew

and when the time came and the curtain came down one last time

he cried and thought that he would never feel the same way as he did on that stage

but he did in different ways, on different stages, on different plains

20 years later, that boy returned to the first stage of his life

and stood there and walked across

and felt the child that he was who loved every moment up there

he smiled and closed his eyes for half a second, to touch that memory

and then he left, turned one more time to look while at the exit

and walked away.

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Going back

Today is an absolute PJ day – because after over 6 months of planning and coordinating with Lynn – we had our 20 year high school reunion last night.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a pang of ” what if everyone cancels and decides not to show up!”  It was something that didn’t occur to me at all, but suddenly I thought perhaps the entire thing was going to fall flat.

It didn’t.  It went beyond anything that I could have imagined.

I will remember this day for a long long time.  Here are the things I will remember:

  • Upon meeting Lynn (who I hadn’t seen in literally 20 years) at Indigo beforehand, I was surprised to also see Diane with her.  Diane exclaiming “MERRIELLL!” when she saw me to hug me was my first flashback to high school.  I hadn’t been called that in OVER 20 years.  Seeing them both there was the beginning of a really special day.
  • Driving into the parking to the school, noticing that there wasn’t any signage that said MacDonald Cartier anymore.
  • Walking into the school and seeing the main foyer. 10 years earlier, I didn’t feel a connection to the walls whatsoever.  This time around, I felt the echo of the life I had there.
  • Walking into the auditorium and seeing that stage – that stage that brought me such joy – again.  Standing on it and feeling it beneath my feet.
  • Counting the amount of people who said “Well, you grew since high school!” and laughing hard at that.
  • Clearly having amnesia to the fact that the French students at our school were physically separated from the English students at all times.  Hearing Paul remember that there was a WALL that even divided the French students in the cafeteria, and further talking about this with Jen and Jill.  I have blocked this out.
  • Seeing Nat again, hearing her say “Hey, Kid.” and giving her the biggest hug.
  • Walking through the school with Su (math teacher extraordinaire – and now vice principal) as our guide.
  • Getting to the restaurant, and seeing more faces arriving.
  • To say that last night was a love fest was an understatement.  The love in that room was palpable.
  • Listening to Liz tell her elementary school teacher about a memory she had of him that gave her validation as a young girl (“Tall people are beautiful.”)
  • Seeing Liz in general – remembering that girl who always never failed to make me laugh.
  • Seeing Shalini, who also reminded me and Nadia about her shenanigans she used to pull on me – and she’s still apologizing. LOL.
  • Letting Rommil and Rosalie know at once that it was a great decision for us to go to Toronto, and yet we were so thrilled to move back to Montreal.  Note to self: contradicting statements make for hilarity and much confusion.
  • Seeing Val again after such a long time, and laughing when she said “So I heard that you don’t remember the French students being separated from us.”  News travels!
  • Being absolutely floored by the beautiful gifts Lynn and I were given – there aren’t enough words to describe.
  • Seeing how that stupid divide of cliques that exists in high school completely vanish as everyone spoke with each other.
  • Jokingly talking about the divide between regular stream students and International students.  Val insisting that there wasn’t a divide, and me insisting “oh, yes there was!” LOL.
  • Talking with Annie, who shared so much of herself in an earlier blog reply, and sharing in the retrospection of how everyone had their own story in high school, be it good or bad, and each is worthy.
  • Standing with Lynn and just watching the room and everyone in it.   It wasn’t just a high school reunion, I thought to myself.  In some ways, it was a family reunion.

No matter where life has taken us, no matter how much we have separated ourselves from the past, no matter the amount of time that has passed, last night showed me that we indeed do have a binding experience which was high school that can never be taken away.  Time stopped for a few hours last night.  And in that stoppage, the beauty that showed itself I will treasure.

You’re a special, special group, MacDonald Cartier class of 1993.  I am so honored to be a small piece of that.