( Intermediate Level )
As Gretchen walks through her door, she throws her keys on the small table by the door and starts thumbing through today’s mail. One particular piece of mail caught her eye.
She hung up her coat and walked to her cozy chair in the living room. She plopped herself down and looked at the envelope that she found interesting.
On the return address was the name of her high school. She had no idea why they would send her anything after all these years.
She proceeded to open it and unfolded the contents. It was an invitation to her twenty-fifth high school reunion. “Wow, has it been that long?” She whispered to herself.
She sat the invitation down and went to the kitchen. She warmed up a cup of this morning’s coffee in the microwave, grabbed a yogurt out of the fridge then headed back to her favorite chair.
While she was in high school she focused on her education. She hadn’t time to participate in any school events other than competitions.
She wanted more for herself than her parents had when they were her age. They confessed to her that school was not important to them at that stage in their lives. Their futures were secure, taking over their family business.
Her dad’s family-owned an import-export business and her mom’s family was in the construction business focusing on residential homes.
Her parents were slightly disappointed that she didn’t want to involve herself in either of the family businesses but made a career path of her own.
She became a successful lawyer at a local law firm and hopefully will become an equal partner one day. Until then she would work in the trenches proving not only to herself but to her soon-to-be partners that she had what it takes.
She stared at the invitation once again. She smiled at the thought of getting together with old classmates. Then she remembered this one particular guy. Stan. He was smitten with her but she blew him off over and over again.
She let out a sigh and then stood up to go to her bedroom closet. Up on the top shelf were her old yearbooks from every year of high school. She grabbed the one from her graduation year.
Again she headed back to her chair and turned on the side lamp. The sun was beginning to set and it was getting dark. She began to thumb through all the pages remembering all the events and the people.
Then she began to read all the things people wrote in her yearbook. Some of the people she remembered and some she did not.
As she found herself through to the back cover there in the largest print was Stan’s message to her.” One day, Gretchen, you will think of me. When you do, I will be here. Forever yours, Stan.” Next to his name he had drawn a rose.
He probably married shortly after graduating and had children. She decided to RSVP for the invitation. She would soon know.
How silly teenagers could be? No one really didn’t know what true love was at that age. Plus she was so deep into her studies she didn’t understand why he thought this way about her.
It is a little over a month until the reunion and she didn’t want to dwell on it. She had plenty of work to keep her busy until that night.
Since it was in the neighboring city, she could book a hotel room that was reserved for this occasion. Checking in on Thursday, the day before and you have the option to stay until Sunday.
She decided to do this. It would be a mini-vacation for her. She had plenty of vacation days coming to her so the very next day she would put in for these days off.
Like most women. She knew she needed to go clothes shopping, have her nails done, and have her hair cut and styled. Nothing too drastic because she wasn’t the type of person to sit in front of the mirror for hours fixing her hair.
The next day she sent back the invitation with an RSVP for one. When she arrived at work, the first thing she did was ask for these days off. Her boss was surprised since she has never taken a day off unless she was forced to.
He gladly gave her those days off and said if she wanted more just let him know. He would approve them straight away. She declined, “Honestly, I feel I may get bored and want to come home earlier.“
The month went by at a steady pace. Gretchen had gone shopping for a dress to wear for the reunion plus bought a few other outfits for the weekend.
It was years since she enjoyed the time to herself. She was looking forward to this. She didn’t want to admit she was curious about Stan. What he was doing in his life and if he actually remembered her.
Finally, the Thursday before the reunion. Fortunately, she was able to leave by noon. Gretchen had worked very hard for the past month to get everything done for her boss.
She wanted to enjoy this time off without getting emails or phone calls from work asking where this was or where that was. Deep inside she felt this still may happen but she kept her fingers crossed.
She headed to the airport before the late afternoon rush hour. It would be less than an hour flight and arrangements were made for her to be picked up at the airport and brought to the hotel.
She arrived without any issues. Her hotel room which the reunion committee had made arrangements was absolutely wonderful. A day spa, swimming pool and plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.
She was a bit tired when she arrived so she ordered room service for that evening’s meal. She had worked half the day and then went home to pack for the trip. She knew she had plenty of time to explore the area in the next few days.
Before she fell asleep that night she pulled out the yearbook she had packed. She went through it looking at the pictures of who she remembered, hoping to see them tomorrow night.
Of course, it has been twenty-five years and everyone is older but maybe they would not look so different. She hoped at least they would have name tags on if she didn’t. She closed the book, turned off the bedside lamp, and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning she slept in longer than usual. She didn’t need to set an alarm clock for once. She ordered a light breakfast and showered afterward.
The festivities didn’t start until seven that evening so she could go out exploring. She planned on being a full-fledged tourist, taking pictures, and seeing as much as she could in the short time she would be there.
Her day was filled with adventure. She visited a photography museum. She ate at a small out-of-the-way venue that served the most wonderful salmon with lightly seasoned carrots and a side salad.
Gretchen arrived back at the hotel around three in the afternoon. This gave her plenty of time to rest and get ready for tonight’s events. She found herself a little nervous and she didn’t understand why.
“Was she anxious to see Stan? That would be crazy,” she thought to herself. She never gave a minute of her time when they were in school together. “Why would still he be thinking of her?”
She decided to take a long hot bubble bath to relax and unwind from the day. She had taken so many photos. She was the typical tourist, even though she was just in the next city over from hers. It had been many years since she stepped foot in her hometown. So many things have changed.
Old buildings were torn down and new ones were built. Shopping malls, cinemas, galleries not mention the restaurants. They even built a park near the heart of the city. She would have loved having this when she was younger.
An hour had slipped by as she looked at the time on her phone. She needed to get ready. She already had her dress and heels laid out by the bed.
She didn’t want to rush. She hated rushing around to do anything. Even for work, she was usually fifteen to thirty minutes early every day. This way she had time to go through her office emails and have a cup of coffee before work started.
The time had come for her to leave. She called for a taxi and waited patiently downstairs. Her dress was a simple teal-colored dress with black heels. She put her hair up which showed her gold earrings and matching necklace.
She never overdressed. Simple was how she liked things. No-fuss. Even throughout her educational career, while other girls dressed to impress the guys she didn’t want to bother.
As the taxi pulled up to the venue, her heart started beating faster. “Now this is just silly of me.” She paid the driver and got out. She looked around at those who were lingering outside but didn’t recognize anyone.
She made her way into the front of the building where a large table was set up. Two women manned the table handing out name tags and welcoming everyone. She smiled and thanked them and headed towards the music.
Seating arrangements were made prior so she needed to find where she was to sit. Gretchen walked around a bit before she found her name card. Her table was near the dance floor and band.
She peeked at the other name tags and recognized one name. Millie’s. She was in Physics with her. She remembers how they studied together since neither of them was strong in this subject.
The alumni started coming in now. All she had just done, was a search for their name cards. She scanned the groups as they came in but hadn’t caught a glimpse of Stan.
“Would I be able to pick him out of a crowd? Probably not. I do remember those crystal blue eyes though. I would spot them anywhere.”
The dinner was about to be served. The waiters were busy asking everyone if they wanted beef, salmon, or chicken. Others came around pouring drinks. Champagne would be served after dinner.
The band continued throughout the meal. Some chose to dance, others just listened and enjoyed their meal.
Millie had brought her husband and Gretchen thought he was a nice man. Millie told stories of high school and the teachers they liked and disliked. Adding exaggerated reasons.
“Was there someone you wanted to see here tonight?” Millie asked Gretchen. She hesitated and told her the story of the yearbook and Stan’s message.
“Don’t give up hope yet. Many are still coming in. Not everyone stayed in this city as I did so I imagine they had to work then travel to get here.”
As soon as Millie uttered those words, she noticed a man walking up to their table from behind Gretchen. She smiled as soon as she saw those crystal blue eyes. This had to be Stan.
He was dressed in a black suit with a teal-colored tie. She noticed this straight away. As if he coordinated with Gretchen on her dress color. In his left hand, he held a single red rose.
Millie nudged her husband to look at what she was seeing. As soon as he did, Stan reached their table and held out the rose. Gretchen looked up and immediately recognized those eyes.
He bent down to kiss her on the cheek as he handed her the rose. He whispered, “I am still forever yours.”
The rest of the evening they spent catching up on their past. Gretchen discovered he had never married either. His work and ambitions never allowed this. Plus, he knew one day, his path would cross Gretchen’s and he could finally sweep her off her feet.
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Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen
Thoughts From Angel:
What woman out there would not appreciate that fairy tale ending? What can I say, I happen to be a romantic at heart.
If you appreciate what I do and would like to support me:
caught her eye – idiom: to get someone’s attention, especially by looking at them
cozy – adjective: giving a feeling of comfort
plopped – phrasal verb: to sit or lie down in a heavy or careless way
reunion – noun: a social gathering attended by members of a certain group of people who have not seen each other for some time
confessed – verb: admit
secure – transitive verb: feel safe and happy and are not worried about life
import-export business- noun: Exporting is sending goods out of your country in order to sell them in another country. Importing is bringing goods into your country from another country in order to sell them
residential – adjective: designed for people to live
career path – noun: job(s) that lead to a position of longevity
work in the trenches – phrasal verb: working in the most difficult parts of a job
soon-to-be – adjective: planned or destined to have a specified position or quality in the near future
smitten – adjective: strong feelings of attraction
blew him off – idiom: to ignore or intentionally avoid a person
thumb through – phrasal verb: to turn the pages quickly
RSVP – verb: respond, please (French)
dwell – intransitive verb: to remain for a period of time
option – noun: a thing that is or may be chosen
drastic – adjective: have a strong effect
fingers crossed– idiom: hope that nothing will happen to bring bad luck
rush hour – noun: a time during each day when traffic is at its heaviest
full-fledged – adjective: full status
out – of – the -way – phrase: a place that is far away from areas that are the central part of the city
venue – noun: the place where something happens, especially an organized event
lingering – adjective: lasting for a long time
manned – adjective: to staff or occupy
peeked – verb: look quickly
glimpse – verb: see briefly or partially
exaggerated – adjective: represented as larger, better, or worse than in reality
ambitions – noun: desire to do or to achieve something
sweep her off her feet – idiom: to make (someone) suddenly become very attracted to one in a romantic way
Question ( s ):
Are you romantic?
Does your high school have reunions? Have you attended any?
Do you keep in touch with those you went to school with?