Although I’ve had many fears in my life, and I’ve talked about at least a couple of them in my previous articles or stories, I’d say another of my biggest fears I’ve ever had was attending my ten year class reunion back in 1998.
At the time, I was working at a buffet restaurant in the Kalamazoo area, doing cahier work and running the front station, where I was in charge of preparing and serving soft drinks to the customers. I’d then get them on their way at the first register where I’d take their orders for their meals, ring them up and present each customer with a ticket for them to present to the next and final register in the line where they would pay for their meals.
Upon receiving the invitation in the mail, there was a questionnaire included. It had questions of marital status, the number of children if any, occupation, accomplishments since graduation from high school, one’s most embarrassing moment since high school, along with a place for name and address for each of the alumni to fill out.
Name and address was one thing, but I was unsure what to put down for my occupation. I graduated from college in August 1992; yet, I was only able to get a minimum wage job at a restaurant, while I knew many of my classmates would have better paying jobs where many of them had some sort of status. I worried about being the only one in my class not to have been successful in making the big money, although I did make a ten figure income. However, I was making the ten figure income at the buffet restaurant through working at least thirty-five hours or more per week. I was embarrassed and ashamed, because I didn’t consider the work I did to be honorable nor noble compared to the rest of my classmates who have gone on to achieve big things in life since high school.
I decided to put self employed for my profession, instead, through doing freelance work as a writer. It wasn’t exactly a lie. At the time, I was still competing in literary competitions while trying to establish myself as a writer. I had been since I graduated from college back in August 1992.
I asked my close childhood friend to accompany me to the class reunion. On the night of the event, I was nervous. I felt so sick to my stomach upon entering the dining hall of the place the reunion was being held, I remember thinking, What am I doing here? Why would I have even decided to come to this reunion when clearly I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable here? But, then again, I wanted to see my fellow classmates, in a way, I missed not seeing them all of these years.
Upon accepting a class directory from the girl who was class president, I was told by her to look for my name button on the table near the entrance. My childhood friend who accompanied me was told to look for his name button, as well. He received one saying “Guest”.
While we walked over to an empty table, Wang Chung’s song Everybody Have Fun Tonight was playing. It settled my nerves, and put feelings of joy into my heart. I was a bit more relaxed, while I started feeling happy to be there, and glad I came.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015