On my way home, I happened to pass by my old high school.
I was surprised by the number of cars parked along the street that made the street narrower. It took some time before it registered to me that it is that time of the year when the school celebrates its foundation day celebrations. Part of the celebration has always been the alumni homecoming. Where other schools celebrate homecoming by batch, it has been a held tradition that all alumni, from 16 to 96, are invited to attend. Tables are reserved for each batch while the host batch have their pride of place front and center, with the biggest number of tables and the biggest number of beer crates at their disposal.
I have not attended the Alumni Homecoming for the past five years.
Coming from an exclusive school, it's inevitable that everyone puts their best foot forward whenever we gather. Such is one of the reasons why the streets outside have become the cesspool of traffic considering it was a Saturday: some people just can't show up without bringing their cars. And like male peacocks at the sight of a peahen in heat, everyone strives to be in their best form and colors: the best cars, the best jobs, the best positions, the best trophy wives, the best signature shirts money can afford. Everyone is out for the kill, striving to become the best version of themselves to show to the others.
But then, again, almost all reunions are like that; even family reunions. No one wants to be labelled as the least improved.
What turned me off from going to the reunions is the caste system still in place. If you think that after 12 long years, the divisions made during highschool have disappeared, then you are tragically mistaken. The popular ones are still the popular ones; the bullies are still bullies; the outcasts, still outcasts. It's as if nothing has changed, and you're back to your gangly 16 year-old self. And the taunts used on you then are still being employed now, regardless of whether they still hold weight or not.
I seem now to be painting my highschool life in a bad light, and that is not my intention. I didn't have it bad in highschool, I actually have fond memories of that time. But then, again, some memories are better left at that - memories. I don't need to be reminded of it every year when I see the same faces attending the reunion who are mostly there for the free beer.
I don't mind reconnecting with old schoolmates. It's just that I'd rather establish new connections with old names.