I understand why, I guess. High school to many was the epitome of painful memories and the wish that things could have been done differently if we 'only knew then what we know now'.
But to me, that's kind of the point of being with these people from my past. They did know me 'when' in that once upon a time of my awkwardness and insecurity - tugging on my skirt and wondering if everybody saw me trip up the stairs or hear me when I snorted when I laughed.
They remember the same teachers with their pants pulled up to their chest or tugging to release their knotted knickers; the same smells from the donut shop across the street; the same songs that still light my fire and make me think it's a little bit funny.
They remember the old school with the fabulous basketball arena and the smell of the popcorn on Fridays and the cockroaches in the lockers.
They remember the downtown that was vibrant and crowded with shoppers and toy stores and actual places to buy clothes and shoes and vanilla-cream-cokes.
They remember the tragic accident on a cool fall night that left some of our friends dead, others badly hurt, all of us forever changed. We held on to each other a little closer that night and will always remember where we were when we heard the news and the names. We were not - were never - invincible, and now we understood that a little more absolutely.
They remember a me that no one else in my family or my immediate circle of friends where I live now - who I love dearly! - will ever know.
There is something timeless in being with friends who share those same memories.
We kid ourselves that the dramas are long forgotten and that growing up has meant all of it is behind us now. We are still feeling insecurities and disappointments and as long as we are breathing, probably always will. There are still words to be said, tears to be shed and closures to be experienced. And that's all part of the remembering that is also so sweet.
How lovely to actually be able to say 'I'm sorry' to someone about something that has haunted a place in memory for decades. To actually be friends with the people that were only a dream then. Or to make friends with people that for some reason weren't walking the same hallways at the same time or were taking different classes, going different directions but now we found we pretty much all of us ended up in the same place.
We grew up. But we didn't outgrow who we were then and how it shaped who we were to become. It is said that every experience - good and bad - makes us the people we are today and that it is important to embrace them all and be thankful for how all of it did shape us.
And I am. And I do. And I love these friends - newly found and forever held in my heart - for the way being with them helps me feel more like me.
And, after all, that is and has always been my prayer, even though I may not have known it as such at the time.
To just be me.