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Three Reunions and a “Significant Other”

This weekend may count as one of the strangest in a while.  Of course, it was time for my 20 Year High School Reunion.  But it ended up being three reunions of sorts in a single weekend – one of them for Devi, not me.
The entire weekend was made a bit more chaotic by the introduction of a puking child on Saturday night, and a puking child on Sunday.  Children can find such interesting ways of complicating matters 🙂  When Marc got sick, I assumed Devi would be out of action for the weekend, and I’d be flying solo to the various things planned – not so.  He got better, and she found ways to make sure she could be in communication, just in case things got worse again – cell phones are the most wonderful things ever created for parents, I think.
And as per the usual, we had a loose plan for how things would work before the weekend got here, but sheesh – no plan ever survives implementation 🙂
So let’s turn on a little Bon Jovi, and relive us some 1980’s and 1990’s partying 😉
“You and me and our old friends,
Hoping it would never end.
So the first “reunion” of the weekend wasn’t mine – it was Devi’s.  While I met Devi back ages ago when she lived in Winfield, she at one time was a Cheney high school student that ran around with some of the same people I did just a bit after she moved to Derby.  (We’ve both commented that it’s kinda funny that we didn’t run into each other before our BBS days!)  So she hung around with people like Cassie, Donna, and Gayle.  Which would be part of the people at Cassie & Jason’s Birthday and Anniversary party!  When Cassie contacted me about the party a while back, I had invited Devi (and when I talked to Cassie, she was really happy to hear that Devvi would be there).
She meets me at my house (we set it up so if she did party a little too hard, I could get her to where her kids were and she could just pick up her car tomorrow.  A little planning ahead, just in case), and my jaw dropped when she stepped out of the car.  I’ve yet to see Devi look anything less that cute – I’ve seen her without makeup and with her pajamas on, and she always looks great.  But what she was wearing?  She looked absolutely stunning.  And I made sure she knew it 🙂
The party was a blast, for the most part.  Devi got to reconnect with some people, I had a blast playing pool with her (and getting my ass stomped) and hanging around seeing her have fun with other people for once.  I see Devi a lot and all, but rarely with other people around besides her kids.  She’s been a bit isolated, though I’ve done what I could to help remove a bit of that (introducing her to some friends at a “club” I belong to, taking her to one of the large tweetups, things like that.)  But those have been somewhat odd social situations – this one was the more normal sort of thing 🙂
And then some drama started. *SIGH* A couple of friends of Cassie’s and one of the current group o’ friend’s girlfriend got into it – not a physical altercation, but it could have gone that way pretty quickly.  Then the boyfriend was getting all riled up too, to the point where I handed Cassie my glasses just in case I had to intervene quickly.  I placed myself at an angle where I could stop the first punch before it was landed, off to the right side in arms reach.  Hey, no one is gonna take a swing at Jason on his birthday and get away with it.
This took the “oomph” out of the party for a while.  Devi needed to get back to her kids (she had planned on leaving at Midnight, and it was already 1:30 AM), so I took her back, and swung back to the party.  
I also had a little bit of my own drama to deal with.  Debbie, one of the gals at the party has, or had, a little bit of a thing for me.  I have nothing for her.  But I tend to avoid her just a bit, mainly because of the… intensity? of our first encounter where she was trying to run her fingers through my hair.  It was just a bit of a turnoff combined with a female that’s already a turnoff to me.  (She’s about as bright as a brick.)
The other one though, that got more interesting.  Bobbi was in rare form.  She’s always a bit over the top with me anyway (one time at a party she declared multiple times, at volume, that she’d fuck me.  Stay classy, Bobbi.  And for the record, I’ve never indicated in any way, shape, or form that I’d fuck her.  Good lord, I wouldn’t do that even with someone else’s dick.)  She was setting on my lap multiple times, and damned near kissed me on the lips at one point.  YEEKS!  
It wasn’t until the next day it finally kinda hit me – I think she might have been jealous.  Devi got a good bit of my attention (of course), and we were doing our usual flirting games (quite possibly funnier than normal), and I think maybe Bobbi was a bit jealous of that, and either was trying to mark territory or just steal my attention way from Devi.  And when I came back to the party later without Devi?  All of that behavior disappeared, and she returned to her normal, mostly annoying self (rather than the hyped up, completely annoying version.)  Funny – I had even told Bobbi that Devi wasn’t my girlfriend, so there shouldn’t be any issue there, but I guess that’s just how insane drunks work sometimes.
Poor Jason ended up going to bed before the rest of us – so he got attacked in bed.  The girls messed with him, then I climbed in bed and curled up to him – he’s laughing his ass off in the picture I’ve got of it 🙂
Now, I had made a joke to someone that what I should really do is got trashed, that way I looked like hell and had a good hangover for the reunion.
Uh, oops, never suggesting that again.  Cassie and I stayed up until 6 AM (I had to sober up, so that helped a lot 🙂 talking about Richard (a story all it’s own.  Which I’ll get into later), the past, Devvi, etc., etc., etc.  A rather good drinking night, really.
The sun was already up when I finally climbed into bed.  
“Remember days of skipping school,
Racing cars and being cool?
WIth a six pack and the radio, 
We didn’t need no place to go.”
On Sunday there were two more reunions to do yet.  The easy one was the High School reunion.
But before we get to the reunion… 🙂  I’ve gotta say I wish I had thought to pull out my camera to prove this place existed.  Devi had me meet her at her Grandparent’s house, which I thought would be kinda cool because she’s mentioned her Grandpa and Grandma with reverence many times.  Getting there at first I was kind of intimidated – the place has a huge hurricane fence around it, so I’m thinkin’ I’m about to see some sort of redneck hell.
Far from it.  You could have taken this particular place and transplanted it into Colorado, and it wouldn’t look out of place.  Slightly hilly terrain, with a HUGE pond, and a beautiful house on it that has a drive in basement.  No shit, this place is a slice of heaven.  It’s never occurred to me you could do that sort of landscaping to Kansas area.
I met her Grandmother and Grandfather, and Pete (her Grandfather) showed me around the place.  The living room overlooks the pond, which has three or four more water feature ponds.  The house it’s self is huge, with a kitchen / dining area combo I would kill for.  It’s an awesome setup.  
Pete built the house – for someone else!  In one of those weird sorts of twists of life, he had built the house for a guy who ends up loosing his first wife, then got remarried and had a nasty divorce.  He sold the house to Pete for market value, and Pete was just going to flip it – until he told his wife, who said they had to move out there and sell their other house instead! 🙂  I don’t blame her – it’s an amazing place!  Hell, you can’t even see that there’s a road out there, even though the house is elevated.  It’s just perfect.
Chatted with them for a bit, and instantly liked Pete – he just seems like a really great guy.  I haven’t chatted with her Grandmother quite as much as Pete at that point (I’d see ’em again soon anyway), but they seem like good people.  (Devi pointed out later that she was pretty sure Pete liked me already.)
Though it was pretty funny – her Grandma knew a little bit about me, and of course knew my grandmother Anita (everyone knows her still, I think 🙂  Come to find out she knew a bit about me from Carol, Meredith’s mom.  Tis’ a small world 🙂
Devi gets the kids all lined out, and it’s Game Time.
So now I have a “Significant Other” – I use the quotes, because it’s all an act.  We’re going to a reunion, and well, despite the fact the feminist side of me isn’t real comfortable with the idea of taking someone sheerly as eye candy, what the hell, might as well have fun with it.  There was one thing though – she wears a Pride bracelet (as in, Gay Pride) all the time, and she made some comment about taking it off for the reunion.  I insisted she didn’t – ya know what?  I’m not going to ask someone to do that.  She wears it as a sign of support, and no matter what the old High School folks think, I’d much rather her wear it and continue to show support, rather than take it off as part of an act.  It’s just not right.
Time hasn’t been THAT bad to a number of people at the reunion.  Some of ’em looked like hell.  Then again, some of them looked like hell in High School, so it’s to be expected.   Rarely do people get prettier over time.
The SO act worked just fine, except once I stumbled over myself.  Paul asked if we were dating.  I said “No,” then quickly added “I have no idea what we’re doing at the moment” with a smile.  Best I could do.  Lies, even as an act like this, don’t come naturally.  I know Paul caught something was odd with that, but let it go – but it became a source of amusement to him later to pick on us – at one point he pointed us out as “Mr. and Mrs. Sickmon,” and when family photos came up, he popped off “OH, they need on – they’re getting married.”  Yep, Paul is still the same ol’ dork 🙂  
One unexpected thing is Devi ended up connecting with at least one person – Paul dated Gayle, and Devi used to run around with Gayle.  So, they had plenty to chat about, plus Devi is fairly good at chatting with folk, so she talked to damned near everyone I did, often at greater length than I did!
I talked with Paul quite a bit, and also chatted with another friend there, BT (Brian Themmish).  Which brings me to what has to be the highlight story of the entire event for me 🙂  Brian and I are discussing the time the three of us (Paul, BT, and myself) had ran a great scam that got us TONS of free fireworks, and we went down to the old party bridge to set them off.
There was an… incident.  Three grocery bags full of fireworks setting right there, and a bottle rocket falls in to one of the bags.  The bridge was scorched permanently, though we managed to get out with only very minor burns.  Trust me, this is a tale all of it’s own.
I’m telling this story, and Devi mentions that Pete used to be the Fire Chief of Cheney (the next town over), and she thought she had heard this story – BT quickly pops off “Oh, no, that was a completely different time!”  Yes, we damned near blew ourselves up (and burned down foliage) with explosives more than once.  This, of course, should be of no surprise to anyone.  I’m still giggling at the “Oh, no, that was a completely different time!” comment 🙂
Overall, it was good.  There was a number of people I didn’t chat with really – didn’t care either.  I didn’t particularly hunt anyone down, except Paul.  Otherwise I did my usual “find a seat, and let the world find me” sort of approach to things.  There’s a few exceptions here and there, but mostly I just let people find me.  In a way, it was a good filtering system – those that I cared least about I didn’t have to pup up with false platitudes and social niceties.  I could just concentrate on talking to the people I had the most history with.
Would I go again?  Hm.  Yeah, I guess.  It wasn’t horrible or anything, and catching up with some people was great.  But overall… I wasn’t comfortable.  I didn’t care for a lot of these people the first time around, and while age might have mellowed us all considerably, some people are still just twits deep down.
So what was different there than normal when it comes to the whole “Significant Other” situation?  Nothing really – I was probably a little more affectionate with her than I normally am, every once in a while sliding my arm around her.  It’s not uncommon for me to show a little affection to Devi, but I’m pretty reserved about that sort of thing, since, well, we’re not together or anything 🙂  (And usually when it does happen, it’s not a conscious thing, and I end up apologizing, and she ends up saying I’m fine, don’t worry about it.)  That’s about it – and other than Paul, everyone just assumed.  Which was sort of the plan anyway 🙂  (I’m sure I’ll end up getting questioned by Paul later)  We had joked back and forth about what level of fun to have with this – she suggested bringing her old engagement ring, but I thought that might be a bit over the line.  If I don’t show up with her  if there’s ever another function, I don’t have to answer too many questions about where she is if we’re just “dating or something”, but if we’re posing as engaged, then I’ve got big questions that could come up.  Plus, there’s just no need for that sort of thing.
Say Goodbye,
Never Say Goodbye.
Holdin’ on we’ve got to try,
Holdin’ on to never say goodbye.
Now comes the hard one. 
I realized I was going to be in Garden Plain, and damn it, it was time to balls up and finally do the thing I haven’t gotten around to doing in eleven years.  Visiting a dead friend and his parents.
Richard was a damned good friend of mine, even though our friendship started with us at each others throats (literally), and the last time I saw him, I kicked him out of my car.  We were close for a reason – unlike everyone else in school, I didn’t have to wear a mask around Rich.  We both just acted ourselves, and and we got along well because we accepted (and ribbed) each other for who we were.
I keep making plans to do this.  And somehow never follow through.  Cassie and I had spent so long the night before chatting about Rich because I had called his parents, and told them I’d be in Garden Plain, and would stop by, and asked where the gravesite was.
Leaving the reunion, I was pretty nervous.  Originally I was going to visit the parents first, then the grave.  Devi got a call during the reunion – Maddy was sick, and asking for her, but would be OK until she got back at our planned time (7 PM).  At first I was going to just change the plan, and just visit the gravesite, so I could get her home quicker, so we headed there.
Devi found the gravesite for me (I couldn’t find it, but she found the directory.  Didn’t know graveyards had directories these days – show’s how often I’ve been to one.)
I had hoped to find some sort of peace there, maybe some sort of closure, maybe say a goodbye.
I said nothing.
I just stared at the headstone, reading it over and over, until my eyes started watering.  I stood up, turned without looking at Devi, and said “Let’s go.”  Not exactly my way of doing things these days, but I really didn’t want to burst out crying, like I was getting ready to do.  She caught up with me and slid her arm around my arm, and walked with me like that back to the car quietly, until I said something akin to “We’ve dealt with the dead.  Now comes the hard part, dealing with the living.”  (That’s not quite perfect, and she made me laugh when she pointed out I just quoted CSI 🙂
There’s no peace of the living, I’ve decided.  Things just wear away over time – we loose the acuteness of our pains.  But it’s always still there.  The dead have it easy.  I went there looking for peace, and found none.  That’s OK though, I finally did something I’ve been needing to do for a long time.
We headed over to the Sandoval’s house from there – I wasn’t planning on being there long.  We ended up staying about 45 minutes.
I may not have found any peace at the gravesite, but I did find acceptance with his parents – and in some ways, that’s preferable.  They are still great people to this day, despite having lost not one, but two sons in the last eleven years.  We talked a bit about Rich, and they made sure I knew I was invited to see them anytime.  Damien, Rich’s youngest brother, was also there – though I’ve seen and talked to him multiple times over the years.  Last time was at Logan’s Steakhouse where he works.
Probably about the time I was getting to feel a bit comfortable with the situation, we really needed to get going – that’s OK, there’s next time.  I’m sure I’ll visit them again in the future.  That old bridge between us still exists, and it’s sturdy enough to hold my emotionally fat ass.  
There’s no real goodbye for me I guess.  You can only really say goodbye to the living, you can only say you care to the living.  Everything else is just you talking to yourself, to convince yourself you’ve said goodbye.  I realize that now.  I also have gotten yet another reminder that every time we see someone, we should say what we think, what we feel.  You’ll never know when the last time will be.
And maybe that’s how things should be.  A much better life could be lived by remembering that.
On the way out, Mary comments “Davis, she’s a keeper!”  And I laughed – I hadn’t even thought about it, the act had just sort of continued while we were there – no one had questioned it, of course, since there wasn’t really anything to question about the situation.  Uh, oops.  I’ll have to correct that later.
Never Say Goodbye, 
Never Say Goodbye.
Leaving the Sandoval’s there was time for one or two more good laughs from the day – I laughed at the “She’s a keeper!” comment again with Devi, and she pops off “Well shit – we’re just going to have to get married just to make everyone happy!”  I looked at her and laughed – “Yeah, but you’re a lesbian.  And if we’re married, you’ll still be a lesbian!”  “SWEET!”  From there we started laughing like hell about how such a thing would play out, culminating with a visual image in my head of some gal stumbling out of the bedroom in the morning, and me having to ask Devi if the gal was mine or hers! 🙂
We got back to her Grandparent’s house, and I talked to her Grandma a bit – she’s got two computers that need a little bit of TLC, and we talked a bit about schedule for me to come look at them (Devi had mentioned them needing a bit o’ help on that before), and out the door I headed, when Pete caught ahold of me on the back porch (did I mention the place is amazing?  I think I could just sit there and do nothing for a day and feel better because of it.)  and we chatted on my way out to the car.  Then he said something as I was getting in my car that gave me pause “Well, come over any time.”  
I already had a pretty good measure of the man – he’s not a social niceties guy.  He sincerely meant that.  Somehow that shocked me a bit.  I guess I must count as a good guy in his book.
Heading home (with a pit stop at Devvi’s real quick) I txt’ed her:
“I so HAVE to find excuses for you to play my ‘significant other’ again!  That was…. oddly fun!”
“Hee hee!  Well, your ‘SO’ s at a gay club getting wet over girls dressed as boys!  What would they say at GPHS?”
Yeah, I love my life – somedays, it’s just too damned fun! 🙂
But there’s a downer when it’s all over.  I’m setting here, feeling a bit “empty” again.  It was nice to play by a slightly less reserved set of rules, and tomorrow when I head over to BBQ with her and some friends I’ll go back to playing by normal rules again.  Even if it was all an act, it was nice for a day to have a Significant Other.

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