Over the last couple of months, I’ve spotted someone I graduated with, let’s call him M, at a few events around town. I have plenty of foggy memories of him, since we ran in the same group, but two stick out.

One is of the day after he had asked me out. I was currently dating one of his good friends and was caught off guard and not really sure how to handle it (that lack of understanding boy-girl relationships hasn’t gone away, either), and the next day M claimed the whole thing was a joke. I got laughed at by essentially our entire group of friends and stormed off in a huff.

This story is probably still in my memory for two reasons: a) I’m reminded that I was quite a whiny, insecure brat at 16 and couldn’t handle any sort of situation that poked fun at me, and b) it was pretty fantastic foreshadowing.

Alex (who I would begin dating in only a few short months) chased me down after I made a scene and got me calmed down. The guy I was dating at the time stayed with M, laughed and made fun of me. And then a couple months down the line had a crisis of sexuality and (in my second distinct memory) cheated on me with M.

It probably goes without saying that I didn’t have an awfully great impression of M, mostly due to the association with discovering the person I’d been dating for a year and a half wasn’t actually interested in girls. When I’ve seen him around, the first scene in our imaginary conversation had me saying something along the lines of, “Hi! My first boyfriend went gay for you. How’s it going?”

However, someone whose opinion I value had recommended M as a person worth hanging out with. I was reluctant to consider it because argh awkward high school stupidity that is embarrassing to remember.

Today I caught sight of M at one of the community free lunches. Before I gave my brain the chance to veto the idea I found myself sitting in the chair next to him and saying hello.

And you know, he’s actually a nice guy. He seemed genuinely pleased to see me, and given the situation our conversation wasn’t too awkward.

It seems that the further I get from high school, the more I recognize that the people I spent the least amount of time with have become the most functional and interesting adults. The irony is not lost on me that, in turn, the people I thought I’d be friends with forever are now about as close to me as the average person I’ve had a class with over the last four years.

All this caused me to go back through my yearbook from that year…and then all of my yearbooks. For any of you that have actually read all of this, here’s a treat:

In retrospect, maybe sixth grade wasn’t the best time to transition from homeschooling to public school.

The “ugh” tells you everything you need to know about that year.

In seventh grade, I ditched the glasses by Halloween because back then they weren’t cool.

In eighth grade, I was trying really really hard to be a popular preppy girl, but by the end of the year I was hanging out with sixth graders.

My life would not make a good teenage geek to chic movie.

Ninth grade was a rough year.

Also, this picture is what I look at whenever I debate chopping my hair off. NEVER AGAIN!

But by tenth grade I’d grown my hair out, settled into a group of friends and thought I was pretty cool.

With all the other pictures in black and white, you didn’t get to witness my hair dying frenzy over the years.

This shade’s my favorite, but I’m too lazy to deal with all that dying business.

Alright, alright, show’s over. Move along folks, nothing to see here… I’m just going to go burn “recycle” all of those yearbooks.


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