The years roll away seeing familiar faces, some wear and tear, lots of excited chatter and much dwelling on people and events from ages ago, their relevance of mild importance, yet still a crucial part of this momentary communication. And I am as guilty as the next.
Despite a Toyota Landcruiser slamming into my car at a giveway on Water Lane (ie about 5 minutes drive from home and causing two days so far of neck ache), the sun was shining, the food was good and the ambience excellent, so what was not to enjoy?
But inevitably, little undercurrents surface as they often do in any reunion. The cliques are every bit as exclusive as in one’s schooldays. The definition of ‘being friendly’ was the same pat answer from one as from another a couple of years earlier: that it was inevitable that people would be friendlier with some than others.
Of course, absolutely true. But it just sounded like something previously discussed in their other cliquey socials in various exotic or other locations., which left a jarring note. Indeed, one previous member of the hallowed group seemed a bit miffed at being excluded from a particular gathering.
And for the rest, some did feel the pain of being left out of friendships that once were strong but had become neglected for various reasons. A few had called or emailed me to say they wouldn’t be there. Some were honest enough to say they did not like that exclusiveness of the cliqueys, wondering why they should be bothered to meet up with people who could only abide their company for a boozy lunch once in every ten years!
After a recent similar correspondence, I too started to wonder about that. Any pain of rejection I may have felt had long disappeared, as not having my friendship is their loss – she says modestly!
We may only meet infrequently, but the repetitive nature of talking of things last discussed ten and twenty and thirty years ago is slightly wearing thin for me, and I felt it was going to be the last one I’d be going to. Reunions are for people who want to relive a moment or three of their past. I, unfortunately, am in a hurry to get to the future and that promised land in my mind.
As an aside, I am allowed some grumpiness as the one and only time I did organise a much larger gathering, that cliquey lot were the only ones not to attend. I can’t even remember why not, and anyway we had a good turn out but of various years. Another schoolmate also organised one at great personal effort, only for the cliqueys to avoid that one too. Desperately rude, of course.
Also rude and, for me, dimming any pleasure, are the people I have seen a good many times since schooldays, insisting on calling me by a name I loathe – wilfully ignoring my requests to be called Euphrosene. It is after all my name!
So, despite actually enjoying myself a lot, the after effect was not the bright light glow some others felt.
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