Since I am back in my city,
I’ve been running into a lot of high school classmates or at least awkwardly noticing them. Every time I do, I am reminded that we have all grown up and graduated from the same high school, but we are also more different than ever. We are no more than cars that used to drive at different speeds in the suburb, and some of us sped onto the highway while others are driving the same roads as we all feel our way through the shadows of adulthood. I am glad that I’m metaphorically the slow car, because that meant I had time to reflect, make sincere friends, and save my gas for adulthood’s intellectual highroad. In other words, I have always seen the world differently than them, and I finally have the companionship and space to express that.
My classmates would see me in my nerdy clothes lugging a laptop and my lab notebook into the local library or powerwalking through the mall to look for gifts and discounts under a fashionable ambiance I don’t belong in. And when I do see them, I give them a wry smile, feeling total gratefulness and amusement that being crammed into classrooms and locker rooms with them taught me who I should never become. Being around them for four plus years also made me notice who I like to be surrounded with and who I tend to avoid. My longtime friends are often, well, like me: cerebral and quiet at first but we truly have a lot to express about everything. We think wholly and fairly, and hold strong to our individuality and avoid drama like it’s the Black Plague. We give each other space and never let our personalities consume each other.
In fact, I smile to myself when I see old acquaintances who remind me that I have no regrets about high school, for my friends are the diamonds in my life and my acquaintances are just stones that never became anything more to me. Wouldn’t you rather keep diamonds than stones too?