I may have mentioned (a lot) that my high school experience was not all that I wished it had been.One of the things I really liked both of my junior and senior proms I had a boyfriend who I did not deserve and it was due in large part to him that both of those events are good memories. This story is not about him though. In my senior year there was a young man who I’ve shared several classes with and who unlike everyone else usually said hi to me every morning and smiled at me. We were by no means good friends but because he was in show choir and the general chorus and show choir always did one show together at Christmas we were on friendly speaking terms. The evening, while memorable for the decorations and lights was equally memorable for its awkwardness. That night I discovered how goldfish must feel in a fishbowl. The rest of the kids there seem to think that the fact that my boyfriend and I (who was also in a wheelchair) were there was something of a novel oddity. I think I heard at least one person term the way in which we danced “cute” I had to restrain the urge to punch that person.
In one of the lulls when we decided to sit down and snack I heard someone call my name and turned around to find the guy who I shared economics class and sometimes the stage with holding a camera, other than my boyfriend I think he was the only person who called me beautiful that night. He took our picture and even complimented me the next morning despite the fact that I was no longer wearing makeup and a gown and gloves. Several people talked to me the night of our prom and even more talked about me, but very few talked to me the next Monday when I was back in jeans and a T-shirt.
Fast-forward (almost) 10 years. Good authority has it that he has become she in the intervening years, no this does not surprise me it was fairly obvious which side of the fence he was on in high school. I have made the decision to attend my ten-year high school reunion if at all possible, a thing that I swore I would never do the second I walked offstage with my diploma. I will go because she deserves all the support I can give her if she decides to show up. I would like to think my classmates and I are grown-up enough not to harass someone for lifestyle choices but honestly I’m not sure, we are talking about the South after all. All I know is that if the situation hits the fan I will be there to defend her in any way I have to. I owe her for the moral support I got from him in high school. The song Just The Way You Are is now in my head, in a way it fits. One of the things I learned in school, choir kids stick together no matter what.