Hejira
a random return home
April 6. 2000

I know it doesn't say JapanI went home today for a brief stay in order to see my high school's spring musical, which my sister was in. I spent some time in the car on the way trying to figure out exactly why I was going home, because I was fairly certain Lauren wouldn't give a damn whether I was there or not. But I wanted to see all my old theater cronies, and my old teachers, and my good old school.

The drive home was stupid, and I had a dull tension headache the whole time. Plus I was going west, with the sun setting in my eyes, so that didn't help anything. The glare was so bad on my windshield that, as I was trying to get off the turnpike via the Lebanon exit, I accidently ran over a couple of cones that sectioned off a portion of the highway that was under construction. Here's the scary thing: I didn't even SEE them. Weirdness. I nearly ran over a couple workmen as well, who just gave me bemused looks when I rolled down my window and tried to apologize. I spent the rest of the drive yelling at myself for being so stupid.

I parked in the school parking lot, and as I got out, I was overcome by the ridiculousness of me being here. I don't know why I found it so funny, but I was hysterically laughing as I walked into the building. Maybe it was relief knowing that I would never be in high school again. Words cannot describe how happy I am to never have to be in that position again.

The first person that accosted me once I was inside was Adele, director of the musical, my friend and my former English teacher. I couldn't believe how good she looked. She used to be hugely overweight, but she is rail thin now, and looked absolutely fabulous. I had forgotten what a stunning woman she is. She's in her mid forties, but easily looks 10 or 15 years younger now. Wow. She informed me Lauren had lost her voice earlier that week, and was still in pretty bad shape. Geez, to hear it from her...why doesn't anyone tell me these things? "Lauren's really excited that you're here tonight," she said. Well. News to me also.

The musical itself was a review of sorts, of 1950s do-wop songs. Lauren didn't have any solo singing, but was part of a trio, and had a couple of speaking lines, and you could hear how strained she was. It was too bad, because she's such an excellent singer, and a better actor than the girls who had the main parts. Still, I am glad that she didn't have a bigger part, because she would have been really hurting.

After the show was over, I found her in the crowd outside the auditorium. She embraced me half-heartedly and distractedly. If she was happy to see me, she certainly wasn't letting on. She was really sick, I could tell. After I schmoozed with some of my friends, we went home, and I enjoyed a somewhat relaxed evening. Lauren was ill tempered as always, and was really upset that her voice had betrayed her after all the work she put into the show. Which is understandable. I know the feeling.

I finally got to see my AP English teacher, Mrs. Brown, at the musical as well. The first thing she said to me was, "Congratulations on your 5!" I finally got to ask her the question that had been burning in the back of my mind since last June: Who else had gotten 5s?. She surprised me when she said, "You were the only one." Out of the entire senior class? Holy shit. That means I scored higher on the AP test than the valedictorian and salutatorian of my class. Me, whose class rank was somewhere in the high 40s. Well, blow me down.

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