It’s funny how high school drama sticks with a person. I graduated high school four years to the day, and yet I can still picture the look on his face when he told me he loved me, and then the look on his face a few weeks later when he said he didn’t. That was junior year.
I suppose we all made mistakes that year – Tina totaled her dad’s car, I slept through a shift of work, and Louise accidentally blabbed about her crush to the whole school. But he – Jeremy – made a the biggest mistake of all. I couldn’t handle all of his lies. “I love you,” he said. He was never an honest guy, but I was blind to a lot of things when I was a junior in high school.
All of these things floated around in the back of my mind everyday. In between my classes and studying and long night shifts, a painful memory or two would invade my day.
But today, I’ve decided, I won’t let it stick with me. I refuse to let this perfectly joyous day be ruined by an fiendish man. And so I strode right up to the grocery story, intent on having a peaceful time of errand running. I grabbed my toothpaste and other odds and ends with a bounce in my step. No painful memories for this girl. Once in line at the check-out, I heard something familiar. The customer in front of me chuckled at something the cashier said. I knew that chuckle.
The customer turned around. I knew that face.
He blinked in shock, and I blinked back. “Hi,” he said.
How could I respond to that in a way that’s not lame?
“How’ve you been, Mia?”
“Fine,” I said whimsically. I had nothing else to say, and I laid my items down on the conveyor belt, hoping that he would leave me be.
“You know, it’s been so long since we talked. I’ve been thinking for a while about writing you a letter.”
“That’s really interesting,” I said. “I’ve never thought of doing the same.” I inwardly cringed. What happened to being cool and collected?
“In that letter I would have apologized.”
Now I looked up.
He grinned, as if something was truly joyful, and I knew he was kidding about the apology part. “I’m sorry that you didn’t understand relationships back then,” he said. “Hope you’re a better person now.” He flashed me a grin, took his plastic bag, and turned on his heel.
When I a junior in high school, I would have sulked like a dog with it’s tail between his legs, reeling from Jeremy’s tumultuous wake. But now I shrugged.
Like I said, it’s funny how high school drama sticks with you. It’s also funny how people change, or in some cases, how little they change.