Sunday, November 20, 2016

Forgotten

My phone buzzed, and I stretched my legs as I glared at the clock.  Eleven.  Who was texting me at this hour?  My arm emerged from the warmth of my blanket and retreated quickly once my phone was in hand.   Squinting from the burning brightness of the screen, I swiped my passcode and read the notification.  It was from Facebook.  I was being invited to my ten-year class reunion.  It's bizarre to think it's been that long since I played in the pep band at the many losing football games or ate lunch in Room 610 with what modern teens call a squad.  I laid under the light of the supermoon, staring up at his magnified face, as I thought back on my experiences walking the halls of my high school.  Faces and names washed over me.  I could feel discomfort from sitting beside my tenth-grade crush as he called me "shaky chihuahua."  I could taste the white roll my best friend donated to my lunchlessness every day.  I could see the acne of another friend's face and feel my skin crawl at the white eyes that watched me from his cheeks.  I recalled the boy from twelfth-grade English who, after teasing me from across the room for the past two years, was assigned to sit directly in front of me and pass his quizzes back for grading.  Suddenly, he was so kind and treated my like we had been pals all along.  I closed my eyes and breathed in that familiar scent of my AP science class where two best friends welcomed me into their circle and helped me feel less alone because my two best friends graduated the year before.  A pit formed in my stomach as I remembered my first date and the first time holding hands.  I was so anxious then but also flattered that someone may actually like me.  The song he dedicated to me rang in my ears, and I could still see his childish grin.  I could vividly recall reading my angsty poetry to the horrified faces of my classmates and the blank faces of Mr. Park's taxidermy collection.  I smiled at the moon (or the tsuki) as I thought about the notes passed in Japanese and the doodle wars in math class.

There was this guy named Ryan and, for reasons unbeknownst to me, my best friend called him Julie when we passed him in the halls.  His long, straw-like hair was always dyed exotic colors ranging from lime green to hot pink, and he wore it confidently while walking with a slouching swagger.

My statistics teacher asked me to be her teacher's assistant during A4.  While grading papers, a student stole my expensive graphing calculator and scratched my name off the back.  He didn't know about the hidden initials inside the battery case.

Once in Ballroom class, I watched a boy drag his tongue grotesquely across his palms repeatedly and slide them through his unwashed hair during roll call.  When it was time to pick a partner, he chose my best friend.  It wasn't until lunch time when she nibbled on her pizza that I remembered to tell her about the hand-licker.  We were careful to avoid dancing with him after that.

On the Vegas/San Diego band tour, a fellow clarinetist formed an unhealthy attachment to me.  He always sat beside me on the bus, wrote me notes in his secret language, and tried to hold my hand whenever he saw an opportunity.  Only sixteen, I didn't know how to navigate the experience.  I tried to be nice without leading him on, but this backfired, and he was convinced I liked him too.  He never knew how uncomfortable he made me or the lengths I went to avoid him.

I thought of all these people and more while the moon watched with wide eyes and mouth agape.  I studied his craters, trying to memorize the marbled pattern.  The longer I peered at the celestial being, the heavier I felt. I remembered so much, but I couldn't help but wonder what people remembered about me.  Would they look back with fondness at some witty joke I made about Harry Potter in Sociology, or would they remember a snappy remark that I spat through my defensive shell?  Would they remember that I was smart and loved learning or that I was a know-it-all who raised my hand too much?  Was there someone laying in bed looking at their Facebook invitation who remembered sitting beside me in band, or will I show up and sit alone because I was too forgettable?

The saddest thing is I don't which bothers me more, being remembered for my weaknesses or not being remembered at all.

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