*This post contains violence, strong language and adult themes. Reader discretion is advised.
So I drove to Altona last night. The kick-off was at 6pm, but I arrived at 7. All good, I thought. I dressed carefully beforehand, shooting for a look that was on-trend but not trying too hard. So I wore my butt-hugging sass and bide jeans, a slinky stripy top and some heels. Subtle make-up. Fresh.
I drove, so I could not drink too much. As I was walking to the venue from my car, a little voice inside my head said “go back, run”. I pressed on regardless.
I arrived. A few people there, none of whom were my friends, and two of whom were my chief torturers in year 12. I made straight for the bar. Rekoderling – excellent. We made some most unenthusiastic small talk.
I had a chat with Vicky, who I had always gotten along with, but never really mixed with. I had bumped into her at the Austin a few years ago. She had just had twins via IVF, they were at the special care nursery. Also, shockingly, her husband had just dropped dead, when the twins were 16 days old. She was pale and traumatised at the time, but looked very well now. I told her so.
I went and had a look at some of the pictures on the wall – they were all of the same 10 or so people. None of me, or my friends. Some of the boofhead boys (one of whom I did not recognise) were standing near the picture wall, and they said hello. BB #1 subsequently told me he had had some children. I replied automatically “that’s disgraceful”. The boys looked confused, and said, vehemently “having kids is the best thing you can do”. I said “I don’t have kids”, and walked away, chugging down my rekoderling anxiously. Hmm.
I saw a few of the other girls. Some gained a bit of weight, apart from one who was wearing a figure-hugging electric blue dress. All of them were heavily made-up. I made small talk with them, too. Electric blue dress lady said “I have just travelled 400km by train to be here, I have come here for a root.” I looked at her, and said “oh, honey, no” and walked away. I texted my girlfriend saying “hurry the fuck uuuuup”.
I had a few pleasant chats, but mostly listened to other chats. It dawned on me: most of these people have not changed at all. Maybe gotten fatter and balder, but essentially unchanged. Those who were cunts were mostly still cunts. One of them wasn’t. But still, most of them were cunts and probably always will be.
Then chief torturer number 1 arrived. With her tall, lithe frame and feline face, she was a model at high school. I was upset to see that time had been good to her, though I never thought that face was particularly pretty. Nothing sagged. She looked hot in her jeans. She breezed through and hugged and kissed all the guys exuberantly with an excited “hiiiiiii”. She said hello to me, and I awkwardly said hello back while sidling away. I was not interested in talking to her.
A few things became apparent.
1. For most of these people, high school was the best time of their lives.
2. For most of these people, getting married and having children is the pinnacle of human achievement. One of the girls informed me dreamily that she was a mum, and looked upon me with pity when I said I was not. Perhaps it bought out an uncomfortable feeling in me. My achievements, being a doctor and doing medical research and having travelled mean nothing. My money was no good in their country.
3. All of the roles, groups and personalities came out as though no time had passed. Once again, I felt different.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought I would go. That I would show off? That they would all be fat and unhappy and that would teach them for being such arseholes?
No. In fact, I was not really in the frame of mind to go. It made me feel worse. I need to stick with my own people.