I went to the annual alumni board meeting / fall reunion event for your fraternity today.
I don’t know why I’m still censoring names/places/organizations, because people who know me will recognize it (or themselves) anyway. I guess I feel like it’s rude to identify folks when this isn’t their story. I don’t think it’s harming the honesty of my writing, but I don’t know. I thought of giving people nicknames, but it seems too corny. Who knows.
Somehow I had a peaceful ish feeling about it instead of intense anxiety. Just luck I was having an easier day I think, because I can never predict it. Our cohort was largely absent, but I saw some of them two weeks ago, on a day that my anxiety was through the roof. Felt bad I couldn’t enjoy their company more.
It was strange to be there without you, awkward talking to people. Trying to introduce myself to the actives and the new alumni. Trying to remember names and faces, when even before this, I’m so bad at it. And we never missed the spring reunion, but it was sparsely attended these past few years in the pouring rain; now I don’t recognize half the room.
It helps that I don’t care how awkward and rambling I am or what people think of me anymore. I feel untouchable.
Being a woman in the room wasn’t weird, there were other wives and partners there, but just being without you was strange. I think I channeled a bit of your voice and energy. Talked more than I would have – than I would have had to – if you were there. If you were there I could stand at your side to meet people, indulge my shyness, just smile and laugh when I didn’t have anything to say.
Something that happens a lot is one or two people seem to make themselves a self-appointed guide for me when we’re out somewhere. Checking in across a room, little upwards nod when they see I’m vacant/confused/exhausted, asking if I’m staying and then saying “we” will do something next.
I appreciate it and I think shepherding me around the world is one of the few things that people can actually do that helps, in that it gets me out of the house. I want to see other humans but I need them to make the decisions because I can’t.
Today it was a couple of the alumni who were very involved when we were in school (still are). They look barely older to me than 10-15 years ago, when in my head they were “established career professional” age, but I realize that back then, their whole cohort was about our age or a little older. Now the recent alumni just look too young to have jobs. I’m one of the old fucks now.
After the meeting, we just went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. Had some Ommegang Rare Vos and sat around talking for like four hours. It was nice.
I didn’t go see the chapter houses this time. I wanted to see the renovations but I couldn’t bring myself to go back there alone yet.