long has it been since I last saw my High School sign? Five
years? Ten years? The ticket said that it was six years ago,
although it didn’t feel that much to me. “Ron? Ron Strickson?”
The receptionist yelled out happily, as she quickly came toward
me and gave me a hug. I didn’t know what to do, except to stand
there still, and let her hug all she wants.
looked up at me after a minute or two, and gave me a treacherous
smile. “You don’t remember me, do you?” She said with a little
laughter. “It’s me, Lena, Lena Smith.”
looked at her in surprise, unable to believe how much she had
changed since High School, her short blond hair now replaced
with dark-black hair and a ponytail, her green eyes now
sheltered behind a pair of glasses. “Wow,” Was all that I could
say at the time, as I looked at her once again. “It’s been that
long since High School, huh?”
“Uh-huh.” She nodded, still smiling as she looked at me.
“So, how did you end up as the reunion’s receptionist?”
volunteered, thought this was the cheapest way to see all of my
“Never would have thought of that myself.” I said, as I placed
my hands into my pant pockets. “So, what are you doing now?”
“I’m a secretary for a law firm near here.”
“That’s cool, I’m a…”
“Novelist, I know.” She smiled again. “I have all of your
novels. Want to sign one of them for me?”
“You could have just called me, and I would have come to your
house to sign it.”
“You have an unlisted number, bud.” She said, as she playfully
punched my right arm. “So, I’ve heard that you are doing a
screenplay, how’s that going?”
“Not as fun as I thought it would be…”
That was when the door opened again and I saw her come in, her
brown hair no longer short, wearing a white dress, in a way that
I’ve never seen her before. Our eyes kinda met for a second,
across the early crowds, undisturbed by the evening air, before
we both shyly looked away, pretending to not have seen each
other, pretending to forget each other’s eyes.
was soon surrounded by a group of her old friends, her beauty
was always popular like that, as I continued to talk to Lena
about the six years in the past. I tried not to look at her, yet
I couldn’t resist. Her gentle smile was slowly killing my heart.
Sean arrived about a half-hour later, arriving in a white BMW
sports car, making quite an entrance. I’ve heard that he had
flunked out of college, while still in pre-law, and done nothing
else ever since. Sean was never made out for that kind of stuff,
he was a football player, and that’s what he should have been.
His father died a few years ago, as Sean, the only heir,
inherited the whole fortune, made by his father’s car-making
empire. But those were rumors, just rumors.
came into the school gym, surrounded by girls already, girls
whose hearts still belonged to him, and will always be. In just
a few minutes, he had once again become the High School idol, a
trophy wanted by everybody. I saw him talking to her, as she
smiled, maybe reminiscing of the High School days. They were
made for each other, they really did, I had always thought so.
stood in some corner after talking with Lena, as Sean drank
alcohol with his old football buddies, yelling loudly about
their victories past. I tried to hide myself from her, I don’t
know why, but was unable to escape from that thinking, as the
evening went on, and more people arrived.
Sean seemed drunk now, as he stood up from his seat, and talked
something to his buddies. He then slowly walked toward me,
swimming through the reunion crowd, a glass of beer barely held
by his right hand. He sat down in a table near my location, his
sunglasses blocking the colors of his eyes. “Hey, Ron.” He
nodded, as he motioned me to sit in the same table with him.
“Hi, Sean.” I replied, as I accepted his invitation.
raised his hand up then, and whistled to a waiter nearby. “Hey!
Give me two glasses of beer over here!”
“No, Sean, that’s okay.” I said, as I sat down opposite his
seat. “I’ll be okay, I already have a glass of Coke.”
“No, you’ve gotta have some beer.” He insisted, his hand still
up in the air.
“No, Sean, I’m really okay…”
“Have a glass of beer, Ron.”
“No, Sean, I’m fine with this…”
stared at me through his dark glasses, a moment of quiet between
us. “Alright.” He said, as he motioned to the waiter again, this
time without yelling so much. “I’ll have a glass of beer, and my
friend here will have another glass of Coke.”
said nothing as the waiter brought us our drinks, and left us as
soon as he had come. “You still don’t drink, do ya, Ron?” He
asked, as he sipped his foaming beer.
try to avoid bad habits, buddy.” I said, finishing my first
glass of pop.
“You haven’t grown up at all. You’re still like a kid.” He was
gulping down his beer now, as if trying to kill an undying
thirst inside his throat. “Heard you’re a writer now.”
“Yeah, never thought I would end up as one. And you?”
“I’m basically on an eternal vacation.” He said, as he finished
up his beer. “Screwing around, doing nothing more but waste my
“Want me to order some more beer for ya?” I asked, not knowing
how else to answer his life.
paused a while, as he looked at me. “Nah, give me some Coke too,
little buddy.” He responded, a smile on his face.
did what he said, and we sat there silently, each sipping our
own drinks. “Why do you stare at the skies with your blurry
eyes.” He said after a while, smiling as he took off his
sunglasses. His eyes looked old now, lost the youthness that it
has once held. “That’s beautiful, man.”
“Huh?” I replied, surprised at what he had just said.
read your novels yesterday, Ron.” He said, looking at me. “I
liked them very much.”
“Thanks, Sean, you don’t know how much that means to me.”
paused quietly again, as he looked out toward the crowds, people
once known and unknown. “Do you know why we never saw each other
in the past six years, considering how small this town was?”
“Well, we did go to separate colleges…”
“Because I was avoiding you all this time.” He interrupted, eyes
still out on to the crowd.
felt surprised, yet calm at the same time. “But… Why?”
envied you.” He said, features unchanged.
“But why? I mean, you’re rich, you’ve got all the girls, you
have everything that a guy would want…”
“But you had the one thing that I ever wanted, Ron.”
didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think. He looked
at me and saw my surprised look, and that somehow brought up a
smile on his face. “You still don’t get it, do ya?” He laughed,
as he stood up to go. “You really are still like a kid, Ron.”
felt like I had something else to say to him, as my eyes
followed him on his way out. “Hey, Sean!” I yelled at him, just
before he reached the exit of the gym. He looked back at me, his
eyes still too old for me to believe. “See ya later, moron.”
smiled as he heard this, a smile belonging to an age from long
ago. “See ya later,
responded, as he waved good-bye, and went out of my life. That
was the last time that I would see him alive. If I had known
that, I would have said much more to him.
Snow felled as the reunion ended. I heard someone yell at me as
I got outside, admiring the snow’s gentle dance. It was her, a
smile on her face, as she waved at me to go near her. “I’m going
to a bar with some friends. Wanna come with us?”
“Nah, I can’t. I have to get up early in the morning.” I lied,
fake smiling my way through. I knew being with her would only
wound my heart more, so I didn’t.
“Alright, Ron.” She seemed disappointed, must have been a mirage
from my mind. “I’ll see ya later.”
“Yeah, later.” I replied, as I waved her good-bye.
Something caught my eyes then, as she turned to leave with her
friends, something that reminded me of the spring skies near the
Putama River, those blue skies that I used to share with her.
She was wearing a celestial blue scarf, one that had white puffs
sneaking their way onto it. I said nothing, as I stared at her
going away, her image disappearing with the snow’s dance, dimmer
and dimmer as each second passed.
had given up on her long ago, I thought as I made my way to the
train station, the snowflakes still falling from the skies. She
doesn’t know my true feelings for her, I wanted to say, as I
walked between rows of seats, counting the numbers that were
pasted on the seat’s armrest. I didn’t know why I was counting
them all, just to keep her off my mind, I guess. 1A, 3A, 5A, 7A…
The seat that was written on my ticket was 21W, a seat that came
too fast after 19A.
everybody this lonely when they’re in love? I thought as I sat
down on my seat, watching out at the falling of the skies,
embracing a pain that is deeper than the shadows.