My father took pains to impress upon me the fact that first loves end. He told me about the time that he spotted his own former first love on the street as an adult and how unkind the years had been to her. It would have been better to have left well enough alone, he said.
Here’s how I replied to the high school classmate who asked me recently if I’d be up for a 35th reunion …
In the several decades since we parted ways in Dalzell, my memories of that place and those people have crystallized into a kind of movie, complete with flattering light and lovely underscoring and bad takes left on the cutting room floor. The fact is that I have no desire to update or sequel my movie to the extent that attending a reunion would make unavoidable. I prefer to remember us as we were. I’m curious, of course, but the cost of satisfying that curiosity would be … well … satisfying my curiosity.
There’d be no first love waiting for me at a high school reunion, not even a second or a third, but the experience of high school itself would be there, its patina ruined by the pressure wash of late breaking reality.
The unkind years.
The reason I’m leaving it alone.