This June, it will be 15 years since I graduated high school. That is not really that long. Not so very far away.
Yet, somehow, I remember almost nothing. High school, to me, comes across like a story I read. I read it, digested it, and promptly forgot about it. If you remind me of some of the plot, I may be able to dredge up memories, but mostly, there’s just nothing there.
It’s not that I hated high school or that it was particularly hard or damaging. It just didn’t matter that much to me. Maybe I felt like I never belonged there, like there was something else, something more, waiting just outside those walls. I certainly remember everything that happened since in finite detail. I’m known among my friends for my incredible detail. But when it comes to high school…
That is not to say I have no memories. Just few. The ones I have are distinct. Like a snapshot. Just a specific memory, taken completely out of context. For example, I remember quite clearly that the first time we nicknamed my high school crush (to this day, he is still referred to as Island Boy) Elena and I were on a bus.
She mentioned, in an email about us visiting the Walker. I flashed on that moment and thought we must have been taking the bus to the Walker–way back then. She said no–we were visiting the Guthrie. I don’t remember ever going to the Guthrie in school. I’ve been, several times, but don’t remember it being for school. I said, “what did we see”? She said that we saw “A Raisin in the Sun” and “A Doll’s House”, but that particular time, the time of the nickname, it was to see “A Doll’s House”.
And, as soon as she said it, I remember it perfectly. Riding the bus, it was winter [Edit** I just looked it up and “A Doll’s House opened at the Guthrie October 16, 1996 and ran through the end of the year. So it really was winter], I believe, and very cold. That, perhaps, is how we got on the subject of traveling to islands–the conversation that forever sparked the nickname. I remember that play. I still don’t remember seeing “A Raisin in the Sun”, but, if I’m not mistaken, we also saw “Playboy of the Western World” [Edit**I can’t find a listing for “A Raisin in the Sun, so either Elena is mistaken, or it wasn’t at the Guthrie, however “Playboy of the Western World was there in 1997. I also saw a listing for “She Stoops to Conquer” and I’m pretty sure I saw that, too! That’s a lot of Guthrie plays]. But, none of that was there until Elena told me about it.
She, my friend, remembers everything. She knows the names of people we went to school with. She has stories about them, or at least can describe them. At graduation this winter, a man came up to me and said hello. He recognized me when I was on stage. He checked the program, saw my name, and was confirmed. He introduced himself and told me how he knew me. We went to junior high and high school together.
I don’t remember him at all. AT ALL. His name sounded vaguely familiar, but that is it. After graduation that night, I called Elena and said, “who is Matt T___?” And she knew, right away and talked about him.
Just so we’re clear,I remember that time in my life. I remember the jobs I worked and places I traveled and friends I had and things (stupid and fun) that I did, but I don’t really remember much about high school. The people. The events. Just my few significant memories, like I’ve pushed out everything else that once existed there. Who knows? Maybe it was because a brain can hold only so much and mine is pushing the limits of its storage capabilities. But, when I hear people talk about high school, friends, family, etc. I wonder why everyone else remembers that time and I really don’t.
It’s an odd phenomenon, for sure. Maybe it might be worth my time to attend my 15 year reunion. Of course, if I go, Elena will have to go with me, or I won’t remember anyone.