How can it be 10 years already? It seems like, if not yesterday, then very recently that I was crossing a stage in a synthetic blue dress with a piece of cardboard stuck to my head.
You whippersnappers think 10 years is such a long time, but I have news for you. Remember how that first day of early marching band practice seems like just a week ago? Yeah, college and the next six years are going to pass just as quickly as sophomore year, junior prom, the fetal pig in Beth’s locker and graduation day — in a blink.
Though it all happened so quickly, my memories of it are some of my most vivid. I can see the light in the evenings in Lindsey’s back yard and the stars on a Missouri summer night. I can feel the crisp air of autumn.
I was just as ready as anyone else to escape my hometown after graduation and head out into the big, wide world, but I don’t look back on high school as a painful four years, as some do. I’m not embarrassed about any of it, though maybe I should be.
Lindsey and I built a smelly raft from lake moss; high-fived each other with slices of pizza in hand; emptied our spit valves in Evan’s band hat; wandered countless hours through the woods behind her house and the woods behind mine; and discovered the dead zone in the lake (that cold, dark spot when you swim really far down).
Evan and I were our own two-man band — Lying In A Pool of Vomit. Charming, I know. All of our songs were about buckling your seatbelt. Nerdy? Yes. Excellent material for future writings? Also yes.
Evan and I took our speech team duet acting piece to state and spent far too much time perfecting our stage slapping. We never perfected it, but just took the opportunity to smack the snot out of each other.
I cruised Columbia with Evan and Jason in Jason’s mom’s minivan while we blared strange music by a woman known as “Paquita del Barrio.”
From that same minivan, I threw a mannequin head at Lindsey while she was standing outside the Blue Note in Columbia one evening and yelled “Heads up!” Playing along, she picked up the head and ran while those nearby watched, mouths agape.
From those who wanted to escape high school and our small town, I mostly heard comments about how bored they were and how there was nothing to do.
My friends and I got into trouble a time or two, but our creativity is part of the reason we look back on the high school years and laugh.
We voted on our senior slogan, which ended up being: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Evan said it was cheesy. I voted for it anyway. Looking back, I think he was right. But that stupid Vitamin C song that came out that year for the class of 2000 actually makes me sad. I don’t get all teary eyed because I miss the girls who worried about their tans. I miss Lindsey, Evan, Jason and Beth, and that song just makes me think of high school.
Probably everyone and their dog has told you that these are going to be the best years of your life, blah, blah, blah. But you can only find out how great they can be by living them and then looking back on them when they’re over.
Jack Handey said it best: “It’s funny that pirates were always going around searching for treasure, and they never realized that the real treasure was the fond memories they were creating.”
The years slip through your hands, and what you remember is that much more bittersweet because it seems like just a breath ago.