The Do-Over

“The Do-Over” is perhaps the greatest American dream. We would all love the chance to take something back, to do something right. We cry– ok, I cry– over movies where the couple gets back together after years apart, professing their undying love and committing to end their days picking up dirty socks and reminding about blood pressure medication. (Actually, I know a couple who got married after breaking up 20 years earlier, and it’s a beautiful story. No joke.) We watch Matthew Perry transform into Zac Efron so that he can try high school again. And dude, he got the most amazing hair ever, so who can blame him?

We either yearn for or dread the opportunity to confront our old miseries. My first short story may or may not be centered around my hypothetical high school reunion where I triumphantly return to that (now demolished) hateful cafeteria (Yeah, the reunion was in the cafeteria. Blame it on the fact that I wasn’t old enough to drink yet and hadn’t imagined that we might throw a party in a more exciting place.) looking thin and fully enlightened, with a handsome and successful boyfriend to boot.

(Yes, babe. You are just like my imaginary ideal boyfriend from God knows how many years ago. I promise.)

I am guessing that my friend Rachel has had similar dreams over the past ten years, but as her class reunion was scheduled for last Saturday (and not, I might add, during the year 2012, which was actually ten years after they graduated), she couldn’t make it. So we threw our own.

“You have to dress up like a high schooler,” she said. “It can be you from back then, or just what people were wearing, or a teenage stereotype, but costumes are a must.”

Her playlist had all the classics from several decades of indulgent pop music, as our cohort represents quite the spread of ages. Instead of the awkward bump and grind of teenagers, we sang until our throats were raw. Before arriving, we each provided her with an old picture of ourselves and three unknown facts about us. Let it be known that no one guessed my unknown fact because that’s how well I have hidden anything interesting about myself. Actually, it was just because people had no imagination and assumed that I was the President of the Debate club, as if I could complete a thought in less than the 5 minute time frame. Impossible.

So as I prepared myself for this party, it came to me, not for the first time, that there wasn’t much that was distinctive about me in high school. Not that I wasn’t special just the way I was, because of course I was, I am an amazing human being with a unique ability to be exactly who I am supposed to be.

I just mean that I was boring.

So given the expectation that my costume should be stereotypical and awesome, I decided that this was my time for a do-over.

All of my aspirations, my unspoken grudges, my shoulda-coulda-wouldas could be rectified in this one moment, and even if they didn’t live up to my expectations, no one would know because they hadn’t actually been present for my high school years. So I dressed up, in full commitment to our established theme, as the person I wanted so desperately to be in high school.

I dressed up as a goth.

I hope some people who were actually goth got a chuckle out of that because, as far as envy goes, this isn’t usually anyone’s ideal. But I so passionately wished that I could divulge my edgy side, my angsty side, the part of my mind obsessed with mortality and counterculture and hideous black lipstick.

You better believe I bought new lipstick.

And can I just say that, dressed up in my black boots, black tights, black skirt, black t-shirt, black jacket, black lace vest, black coat, black choker ribbon, black wire cameo necklace, and grey (I’m sorry! I already owned them!) fingerless gloves, with the darkest eye makeup that I have ever worn and fake eyelashes that have been preparing themselves for just such an occasion, I looked fantastic.

Sign me up for the next vampire convention!

And so my dreams were fulfilled. I would never have drawn so much attention to myself while I was still a teenager, but I got my moment in the sun. Or the shadows. Whichever you prefer.

While some of my cohort suggested that I make this a permanent change, or at least start dressing goth to teach my class (because I totally wouldn’t lose any respect from my 18-year-old students), I already feel a deep sense of satisfaction. That itch that has been plaguing me for years has finally been scratched. My “do-over” is done. Thank God, because that lipstick wears off really quickly with a mottled effect that looked like I was dying of  some horrific tropical disease.

This weekend? “The Worst Birthday Party Ever”– a chance for group therapy regarding our worst cake smeared memories. Little do they know that I once took out an entire soccer team in celebrating my blessed name day. See? My dark side…

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4 thoughts on “The Do-Over

  1. I second the picture request. Post that thing!

    I love that you desired not to be the prom queen, or head cheerleader, or even the valadictorian . . . but an outcast with a true sense of self and F the man mentality. You are indeed a truly interesting and multi-faceted person, Jill. Not boring at all, I say.

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