Sunday 1st February 2009by Tina
It had been almost ten years since the class had last seen each other, and Ramon thought it felt a bit odd for them to be having their high school reunion at a posh hotel like this. Their high school wasn’t exactly big or well-known or rich. In fact, Ramon could remember the Student Council officers having to fight with the school administration for budget in their activities, most especially their prom. Their “most memorable night” in high school ended up being in their gym. It was well attended, yes, but their batch griped about it until they graduated.
Then again, their reunion wasn’t really sponsored by their school, but some of the old Student Council officers during their senior batch. They must have had a lot of money — or at least, sponsors — to be able to pull this event in Edsa Shangri-la.
Ramon entered the ballroom and saw that it was about half-full with people. He headed to the registration table to sign his name, exchanging some pleasantries with Cara, their batch’s secretary ten years ago. He was amused to note that she was still delegated to the front table, just as she was back in high school.
Ramon spotted a couple more familiar faces and talked to some more people until he finally saw his friends.
“Hey,” Ramon said when he reached them. He exchanged high-fives with the guys and gave the girls pecks on their cheeks.
“Looking good, Ramon,” Vanya said with a wink. Her hand was intertwined with Rick, and there was a telltale wedding band on her finger.
“When did you guys get married?” Ramon blurted out as he sat down.
Rick smiled. “Wow, you’re quick to notice. Just a few months ago.”
“Yeah, and they didn’t invite us,” Cris said, shaking her head. Vanya rolled her eyes at her and everyone else laughed. The two had always been arguing with each other since high school, and as it turns out, until now.
“But seriously, it was just a few months ago?” Ramon asked, turning to Rick after the laughter has died down.
“It was just a small wedding,” Rick explained. “We would have invited you guys but we didn’t have any of your contact numbers anymore.”
“And you weren’t in town then, Ramon,” Vanya added. “You were in some hotshot country doing your business thing. Right Kat?” She turned to their Chinese looking friend who wasn’t really Chinese.
Kat nodded. “Yeah, you were all around the world, Ramon! Imagine how hard it was to contact you for this reunion,” she spread her arm towards the general direction of the party. “Like the rest of you guys!” She crossed her arms and glared at the group.
“I didn’t think you’d want to be in touch with me,” Ivan piped up, grinning. Kat granted him a punch on the arm after his comment. Ramon remembered that Kat and Ivan were an item back in high school, but from the looks of it, they don’t seem to be as lovey-dovey as before.
“So…I take it you guys are not together anymore?” Ramon ventured cautiously. He glanced at Cris.
“Gee, you really were out of touch,” Cris said, patting Ramon’s hand sympathetically.
“I broke up with him during college,” Kat told Ramon.
“Hey, I broke up with you,” Ivan said, his tone slightly indignant but at the same time joking, which Ramon figured was a joke between the two of them already. Kat glared at him and socked him on the arm again. “Ouch!”
“Tsk, always so violent, Kat,” Ralph said, laughing. Ramon looked at him and saw he had his arm around Cris so he figured they were still together.
“Yeah, we are,” Cris said, smiling after Ramon asked what he was thinking. She waved her left hand and Ramon saw something glittering on one of her fingers — yes, it was a ring.
“Where have I been?” Ramon asked in wonder after his friends have updated him with the other things he missed.
“You were too busy being Mr. Corporate guy,” Kat said, slapping his arm affectionately. She signalled for the waiter who carried a tray of champagne flutes and reached for one to give to Ramon when he passed by.
“If it’s any comfort to you, we hardly talked to each other too,” Ralph said. “Well except for me and Cris and Rick and Vanya, of course.”
“It’s just weird,” Ramon said, shaking his head. He took a sip of champagne. “We were so inseparable in high school.”
“Life happens,” Vanya said, shrugging. “We’re not holding it against you, don’t worry.”
“I wonder when Sarah will get here,” Cris said, looking at the entrance. The program wasn’t about to start until after a few more minutes, and people were still arriving. At the sound of her name, Ramon looked up.
“You do remember Sarah, right?” Ivan asked, noting Ramon’s expression.
“Of course!” Ramon said, nodding. Okay, so maybe he kept in touch with someone in their group during college. While everyone else in their group paired up, he and Sarah were often left together, trying to find other things to do while the couples had their fun. Sarah was his buddy, his confidant and his constant companion back in high school. When they graduated, Sarah went to another school but they kept in touch during the first years of their college life through text messages and emails, but eventually it died down. Some days, Ramon thought of Sarah wondering how she was, but he never got to around to sending a message to her.
Ramon could also remember Ralph telling him that he thinks Sarah likes him, but he never paid attention to it. Sarah was nice, quite attractive, but he always saw her as a friend. Plus, Sarah never seemed to show any interest in him, so why rock the boat?
“Where did she end up?”
Cris reached for a bread stick from the center plate and nibbled on it before talking. “Last thing I heard, she was already working in Singapore. She confirmed she’s going, right?” Cris asked the last question to Kat, who was looking at her phone.
“Yeah, she did,” Kat said with a nod. She looked up to the direction of the doors and smiled. “And here she is now.”
Everyone turned to look, including Ramon. Suddenly, it seemed as if all of the room fell quiet as Sarah made her way into the room. Ramon could hardly believe that this woman was the Sarah he knew back in high school. The high school Sarah was slightly tomboyish, always wearing jeans and shirts and sneakers whenever they would be out of their uniform, her long dark hair perpetually in a ponytail. This Sarah looked totally different. Her hair was loose, swaying gently as she greeted the people she knew. Instead of her old get-up of pants, she wore a white dress down to her knees, flowing gracefully as she moved.
She greeted a couple of more people and her eyes swept across the room. When she spotted Ramon and the others, her entire face lit up. Ramon felt entranced as she made her way to them.
“Hi guys!” Sarah greeted. She moved around the group, giving hugs and kisses and half squealing with the girls. Ramon just watched her, amazed at how different this Sarah is.
Finally, she reached Ramon. “Ramon!” she exclaimed brightly, leaning over to plant a kiss on his cheek. He felt his face heat up as her lips met his cheek, and he found himself breathing her scent in. Definitely different, in a good way.
Sarah leaned back, still smiling. Her eyes looked around the group again, and then back at him, her face looking a bit confused and amused. She reached over to Ramon’s face and touched his chin lightly. Ramon wondered what she was about to do, but then he felt some pressure from her finger pushing up and he felt his mouth close. It took him a moment to realize that he had been staring at her with his mouth open.
Everyone laughed and Ramon blushed, embarrassed to look at Sarah. However, Sarah touched his face slightly and he looked up at her, relieved to see her smiling. “It’s good to see you too, Ramon.”