66/365 The Last Five Years

“I bet you five bucks by the end of the night they will play white houses.”

Sure enough about two hours after that comment, and several lagers later, I heard the opening music and saw thirty women crowd together onto a makeshift dance floor. I was in the middle of a conversation talking about what I had been up to in the last five years. It was the same conversation that I had been having since I walked into the reunion. Our conversation stopped abruptly as we turned to watch our classmates sing

And she’s so pretty, and she’s so sure
Maybe I’m more clever than a girl like her
The summer’s all in bloom
The summer is ending soon

It’s alright and it’s nice not to be so alone
But I hold on to secrets in white houses

By the end of the song everyone is chanting, “seniors” and it’s both embarrassing and cute. I search for my group of friends that I’ve stayed in touch with over the years, and see them pushed off to the side. When I make my way to them I get another drink and I can tell that they feel similar to the way I do. I’m not sure how white houses became the classes’ anthem. If you don’t already know it’s a song by Vanessa Carlton where she tells the story about a girl losing her virginity, and how she regrets it.

It seems odd that for four years 102 students at an all girl Catholic high school would sing this at every dance, rally, and any other school sanctioned event with a DJ. And even stranger that none of the staff members, or worse a nun, commented on it. For whatever reason it is our song, and just about every girl at our reunion acknowledged it and owned it, and they owned it in the presence of other strangers.

The night was filled with hugs and reminiscing, and almost everyone agreed that they felt too young to be doing this. To me, everyone looked the same but as I caught glimpses of the slideshow set up I cringed. It was then that I realized how young we looked back then. It’s not as if we looked old now, but it’s just different. In five years all of us had reached the legal drinking age, graduated college, found love & heartbreak (one girl is even married), and experienced loss. Some of us were starting entry level jobs, starting grad school/med school/law school, and a lot of us were still living at home. Those five years change something inside of you, and you don’t realize it until the comparison is put on a screen for all to see.

Before my previous conversation had been interrupted by white houses, a former classmate admitted to me that she had no idea what she was doing. I was so relieved that someone came out and said this, and assured her that I was just as lost right now. Despite being excited to go to the reunion (yes I was one of those freaks who liked high school), I was nervous that the tales of success from other people would make me feel bad about where I was in my life. Alcohol certainly helped, but I was fortunate enough to actually attend a school with loving, supportive girls who have now turned into women.

After our open bar closed I finished my drink and let my responsible, sober friend drive me home. I got into bed last night thinking about how five years have changed me, and what life will be like in another five years. And in five years we’ll probably still be dancing to that same song.



Day Sixty-Six 

Shilad Sen/Flickr


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