Before I ventured out last Saturday night, I agonised over my outfit more closely than I had done in years. Pants or skirt? Stylish black, or playful pink and green? (I chose black). Shoes were a lengthy trial, and by the time it came to make up my stomach was a whirlpool of nerves and hormones. You see, last Saturday night it was my 15th year school reunion.
“Can you put on Midnight Oil?” I yelled out to my husband.
“Which one?” he yelled back, ever the willing DJ. How could he even ask? Diesel and Dust of course.
As the beds were burning in the background, I was feeling a little heated myself. Amazing isn’t it – how our state of mind can manifest itself physically. I have a colleague who develops hives around report writing time and my brother seems to develop a sore back on the Monday after grand final weekend.
My reflection in the foggy mirror showed flushed cheeks, a mouth slightly open. I chewed a fingernail, and noticed that my breath was coming out in little puffs, like a tiny steam engine.
In the weekends of 1988 and 1989, this look, this feeling was more commonplace.
Anticipation, is it ever so pronounced as when we are 16 years old on a summer evening? Sometimes when a warm southerly blows I can even now transport myself back to that time, that delicious uncertainty of romance, and other, more feverish longings. To be held, to be kissed, to be loved by someone who loves you. Your first love! I pity anyone who has not felt it.
Back in the bathroom ancient feelings continued to surface. Midnight oil belted out ‘Power and the Passion’ as I remembered certain mumblings and fumblings – first declarations of love, the smell of wet wool and Brut aftershave.
Lipstick slightly askew, I pondered the state of my heart 15 years ago.
I had been ceremoniously feted at the age of 17 by the boy of my dreams, and very unceremoniously dumped by him at the age of 19.
We had broken up in a torrent of snot and tears outside Hot Gossip nightclub in Bendigo, and my heart had ached for years. In a decade, no boyfriend measured up to him. Not the poet with teeth like Stonehenge, not the lawyer with a hairy back and certainly not the Israeli with Masada like issues.
The FIRST ONE broke my heart, shredded my ego, and yet here I was; blotching my mascara nervously and wondering if he would arrive. How would I feel when I saw his handsome light bulb shaped head? Like a punch in the gut most likely.
Heading out into the lounge room I paraded before my husband and two sons. Bernie gave me a low wolf whistle, as Alexander leapt dangerously from the couch. Before the taxi arrived we had a disco to ‘Dream world’, and Eddie took two steps for the very first time.
As it turned out, the old boy friend didn’t turn up to the reunion. But we all had a great time. We giggled about our music teacher, Mr Oboe (I’m not joking) and the spit that used to come out the end of his recorder. We laughed at our hairdos, Sweet Valley High books and pastel shirts. We were loud; we drank glasses of fruity lexia for old times, and requested Roxette from the surly D.J.
That was a week ago. I look around the mess that is my lounge room and wonder where the years have gone. My son Alexander shows me a picture he has drawn of the whole family. We are stick figures linking pointed hands. We have wild hair, crazy ears, our eyes are all over the place but we smile broadly despite our faults.
The reunion was fun. But I wouldn’t go back; I like my life now much more.