I was scrolling through my tab during my lunch break when an invitation to my high school reunion came in.
“Dear Esteemed Alumni,” It began. “We are happy to have you again at the place you called home for four years. Welcome to the Class of ‘08 High School Reunion that will take place on the 11th of August 2018. We look forward to having you all.”
I nearly choked on the piece of chicken that I was savouring while reading the email. Was it really 10 years ago? Time truly passed by while I struggled to get my life in order. I felt indifferent about the invite since nothing much had changed in my life. I wasn’t as successful in my career as some of my peers but I was doing well. However, my biggest worry wasn’t having a luxurious car or a big mansion, I was most worried about was my marital status.
From the looks of things, many of my old classmates were married and some even had little ones. As for me, the longest relationship I’ve ever had was with my phone service provider. This made me resort to asking one of my good friends, Fiona, to be my date for my high school reunion. In addition, I asked her to pose as my fiancee. She was surprisingly willing to take up the role after I mentioned buying her a real engagement ring and letting her keep it.
Everything went well leading up to the day of. Fiona and I went shopping for nice clothes that would make people think that we were doing better than we actually were. She picked out a navy blue suit for me and she wore a beautiful black sequin gown. Did I mention Fiona was also one of the most attractive people I’ve ever seen?
She had a skin tone that could be described as rich caramel and her tall, slender body turned heads everywhere we went. However, my attempts at dating her hit a brick wall every time so I eventually accepted my spot in the friend zone.
“All set?” I asked her as I parked outside her apartment block.
“Yes. Just give me a minute. Actually, come and help me zip this dress.” She answered.
I was more than happy. I got to the third floor and she came to open for me clutching her dress. She looked so stunning that I lost my concentration for a minute.
“You know, this is my high school reunion,” I said.
“Thanks. You look good too,” She replied sarcastically and turned so I could help her zip up which I did.
“It’s gonna be a great night,” I yelled as if I was a teenager again and she chuckled.
We got to the school an hour later. We had been sharing our high school stories. She told me how she went to a remote school and she wouldn’t go back to their high school reunion even if they paid her. Nonetheless, she had made a good life for herself.
The place was already full of cars meaning that we were among the last people to arrive. I could hear a familiar voice echo through the school hallways as we walked to the hall.
“That’s our former Principal speaking,” I mentioned to Fiona but she didn’t seem interested in my random thoughts. That’s when I realized I had been rambling since we walked in the school.
After a long stretch through the decorated but empty corridors, we got to the packed venue. It looked like everybody brought a plus one. We snuck in without drawing too much attention and sat through endless speeches. Finally, the former school captain of our year spoke and officially commenced the party.
Since I was among the last people to arrive, this placed me right at the outer lane leading to the open floor and food section. This meant that I was literally the most conspicuous guy in the room and not to mention, I showed up with the most beautiful woman too.
“Big man!!” I heard somebody say behind me as we walked towards the buffet. That was my high school nickname since I was larger than most guys.
I turned only to be met by a small crowd of curious men. They were not too sharply dressed as I expected most of them to be and their eyes betrayed their drinking habits. We said hi then I introduced my date before she excused herself.
“Bro, is that your wife?” one of them asked.
I smiled then adjusted my tie knowing they all wished to be me. “Soon to be. She’s my fiancee”
“She is fiiiiiine!” he added
“I know you’re married, Vicky. Where is your wife?” I asked him.
“Nimemwacha nyumbani. Wacha alee watoto.” He replied shrugging his shoulders.
The others though their wives were present, seemed not too enthusiastic to spend time with them. All didn’t seem so rosy for the family men but who was I to say? I was there with a friend posing as my fiancee just so I wouldn’t be ridiculed.
“What I’d give to date one of those again,” Vicky said.
That irritated me as much as Fiona was just a friend. So, I left their thirsty company and rejoined my date who was still queuing for food.
As the night progressed, everybody caught up with their old friends as others networked and tried to sell their ideas to the affluent attendees. On the other hand, my date was getting overwhelmed by the attention that she occasionally asked to leave.
Eventually, the night came to an end and everybody had to go back to their reality, including me. I dropped Fiona at her apartment and she thanked me for a fun night. Spending an entire night at my high school reunion pretending to be engaged may have been an exciting experience but I’ve seen what the other side looks like. The grass is certainly not greener.