Every high school has one, the absolutely gorgeous popular girl. She’s everyone’s fantasy and is also one of the notorious mean girls of high school. My distant suburban high school had such a girl – her name was Kira. She had loads of friends, could have taken her pick of any boy – and she often did.
I’m sure she was drinking and having sex, but I don’t know for sure. I was the one who sat quietly in the back of the classroom with my large unplucked eyebrows and men’s carpenter jeans to hide the large hips I hadn’t quite grown into yet. I won’t even mention how bad my hair was. I was so far out of her circle we weren’t even in the same universe.
She did notice me. She would single me out every so often with the crafty, lofty smile with the flicker of an eye roll with some snide comment. “Are you going to Zero tonight?” she’d taunt me. Zero was a club in the neighboring city that catered to the 18 and under crowd on Friday nights. I had never been and had no desire to go either. In her eyes, I was a zero. “No,” would be my stoic quiet reply. She’d then laugh and toss her perfect hair back and walk away.
Such were my interactions with Kira.
My best friend interacted with her on a much more friendlier level, but that was because their parents were friends. Nonetheless, my friend would often comment, “She’s such a bitch.”
I graduated, left my hometown in the dust of my memories and soldiered on through life. Kira was filed in the same drawer as the classroom where I had AP English: just a random memory from high school that meant nothing.
Fast forward 15 years post graduation and my friend, mentioned above, got married. Of course, I flew back into my hometown with my husband to attend the wedding. I saw a few people there I hadn’t seen in years! And then she appeared: Kira. Just as beautiful as she was in high school. It was like looking the past straight into the face.
She smiled as she recognized me. “Simonne!”
Oh dear God.
“Kira! How are you?”
My upbringing had conditioned me to read people incredibly well – the vibes she was giving off were the opposite of our high school days. She was contrite and calm. There was a cloud of sadness that permeated around her. The chip on her shoulder had long fallen off.
We exchanged pleasantries and briefly explained our places in life. She was working some fancy job in a skyscraper and single.
“You haven’t aged a day since high school,” she said with wonder. “No kids, right?”
“Yeah, no kids.”
“Yup. It keeps you young. You look amazing.”
“You as well. You look exactly the same!” And we were. That wasn’t a stretch. I just have better fashion sense, groomed eyebrows, and figured out how to keep my hair from wearing me.
I can’t remember her exact words, mainly because I was in complete shock by what she said next.
“It took going to college and getting away from the small town high school clique to really understand who I was and who I wanted to be,” she said slowly. “I’m sorry I was so mean to you.”
I nodded. “I understand. I’m not who I was in high school either. We’ve all changed, for the better.”
We ended up talking again after the ceremony. Kira didn’t explain her sadness and I didn’t ask – but later learned her boyfriend had just broken up with her. We actually talked about our dreams – as crazy as that is – I revealed to her I longed to get out of the medical field and how I wrote on the side. She suggested a writing website to check out. She wrote a bit as well.
My husband snapped a picture of us. As much as I’d love to share it, I won’t (I look ridiculous, as per usual). I’m still stunned that one of the most popular/brattiest people in my high school – Kira of all people – was kind to me.
“So who was the really hot chick you were talking to?” my husband asked.
I sighed. “I’ll explain later.”