Part One: Awkward Beginning

I didn’t think I’d find the courage to attend a high school reunion, but somehow, my best friend Chloe managed to drag me to one. There wasn’t anything special about that particular year—just that it was the time Chloe managed to hire the most wanted criminal in the city to threaten me and make me choose between a slow and excruciatingly painful death and going to the reunion.

As I sat in front of one of the boys from high school, I began to seriously contemplate the logic of the choice I made. Suddenly, getting my head blown off didn’t seem so bad. Getting my limbs torn off one by one seemed much less painful than sitting in uncomfortable silence with my first love and heartbreak with no real accomplishment in my life so far going for me. I had only recently gotten a job and was a complete amateur at it. I was still living with my parents and they still gave me an allowance every week. It was embarrassing for me to admit, but the only up side in my life was the wonderful man, Max, who decided to work with the lost cause that was me.

But, I was already at that situation.

“So...” I started, looking around to see if there was anything interesting to open a conversation with. What did people talk about during reunions other than their wonderful lives? I imagine that making a comment about our former teen queen’s frighteningly quick weight loss wouldn’t be a positive opener; although, by the looks of it, her new emaciated image could not, by any means, be healthy. I would have brought up some interesting tidbit about our common friends had I actually kept in touch with them post graduation. I wanted to ask about him and his fiancée, but I didn’t want to seem too prying. Since I could hold the single-syllable word for only so long, the next thing that came to mind decided to slide past the meager security system of my tact and went straight to my mouth. “...Terrence, have you talked to Chloe recently? She’s contemplating resigning from her job.” You’re a wonderful friend for saving my butt, Chloe, sorry for using you like this.

Terrence lifted an inquisitive eyebrow. “She told me about that.”

“And what did you tell her?” I inquired, trying to look interested, though I knew that he knew that I already knew what advice he gave Chloe. When he didn’t respond, I continued. “I told her that if she really wants to leave such a stable job, she should reassess her entire situation then plan what she’s going to do next.” I spent the next few minutes babbling inanely about Chloe and how I hoped she would find her niche and things like that. Terrence wasn’t even feigning interest and I was quickly running out of words. “So...” I stopped for a moment and then found myself stuck with that damned syllable again. But, I had an easy escape this time. “...What do you think?”

“I think I have to go,” his gaze was focused on a buddy of his who had just walked through the door. He gulped down the last of the coffee he had nursed during the short few minutes we spent together.

I smiled, trying to look relieved and understanding at the same time. “I see,” I said as I followed his line of vision. “Say hi to Greg for me,” after forcing all the cheer I had left, I quickly took a sip from my cup to hide the frustration and disappointment that was welling up inside of me. I closed my eyes, pretending to relish the bitter drink. When I heard the scraping of the legs of the chair against the concrete gym floor, I pictured him standing up and walking away from our table with his hand raised to call the attention of his friend. I wasn’t just mildly surprised when I opened my eyes to find him still seated there, watching me quietly.

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