Somehow my parents and I started talking about the schools that my brother and I got into. I, for the life of me, couldn’t remember beyond three. So I looked back in my journal and found the forgotten college that had accepted me.
In those entries I also found that I obssessed a lot about the homework I should have been doing (nothing’s changed) and that I didn’t do so well in calculus. I got a 4 on the AP exam so I always remember doing well, but while I think I ended the year with a B, I got a lot of Cs and a few Ds beforehand.
I constantly worried about studying for AP bio, which I only sometimes did, and about getting praise from my writing teacher. I had a wicked crush on a guy named Ben (my real-life friends will know who that is), which dissipated and turned into a crush on a guy named Steve.
I read about the time SG and I had dinner at the Scanticon Hotel in Princeton. Escargots and filet mignon – fancy! Coincidentally ES was there too with a couple of other friends, and they kept stopping by to chat. They ended up going to a comedy show and hanging out with some college guy in his hotel room. I wonder if she rememebers that.
I forgot how much I wanted to go to the college I ended up going to. I mean, I loved it, but I didn’t remember how passionate I was, how I equated getting in with dreams coming true. “Who knows,” I wrote. “At this rate maybe I’ll win the Pulitzer before I’m 30.” Sorry to burst your bubble, young Anna May.
On Christmas Day, I had lunch with another high school friend. AY, who lives near the where we all grew up, is better friends with ES and someone I usually only see when ES is around. But when we all saw each other this past Thanksgiving, AY was very enthusiastic about hanging out again the next time I was home.
She knew only that I was divorced, not why or how. So over buttermilk pancakes and bacon – well, I had buttermilk pancakes and bacon, she had soup and salad – I filled her in. She was very sweet and sympathetic. I think a couple of her friends have gone through tough divorces/break-ups.
The last time we saw each other, before this past Thanksgiving, was Thankgiving weekend 2004. I can remember the day clearly – the cafe where ES and I met her for lunch, hanging out at her condo afterwards, much of it in her bathroom for some reason – but till later wasn’t clear on the year.
AY said that day she could tell something was up with me. She said, “Don’t get upset but I thought, Anna May looks old. I thought you looked about 40.”
The first thing I thought was, God, I hope that was after the affair and not before! And the first thing I did when I came back to New York? Check my journal: whew. That weekend was indeed November 2004, which was several months after the affair. Plus I was probably exhausted from Thanksgiving itself.
I said, “I don’t look 40 now, do I?”
“No, no!” she said. “You look happy. You look like yourself again.”
Since she was so blunt about my looking bad, I can only assume she’s being honest about how I look now.
I didn’t realize how much the ordeal showed on my face. People at work suspected, and obviously friends who hadn’t seen me in some time could tell. I don’t remember looking at myself much during that time, not like now when I wake up every morning and scrutinize every wrinkle and dark spot. Maybe I had some trouble looking at myself back then.
Thank goodness for my journals. They’re there when memory fails me and to remind me how life comes in waves, good, bad, mediocre, horrible, wonderful, and that right now I’m in pretty good shape.