The Reunion

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
David has a high school reunion coming up. Would you go? Three years after his wife passes, he has an opportunity to go to his high school reunion. This story tells his little adventure before, during and after his Reunion.

Also, Don't forget to check out the sequel titled, "Tate's Hell" Hope you enjoy it.

Submitted: June 25, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 25, 2018



The Reunion  

By Brian Lee Clements

David was a product of the 1960’s and 70’s. He was kind of a quiet kid in school. Had a lot of friends but kept to himself a lot. He moved to Panama City, Florida when he was six years old.


By the time he got to high school, he had tried out for football and didn’t make it, tried out for basketball twice and didn’t make it. He was content to do the best he could everything and also get the best grades he could get. David didn’t exactly made to honor role but he was happy with the grades he made.


He did have a girlfriend during the three years of high school. Her name was Carol Anne and they knew each other since the third grade. She also live a few house down from him. Her family also had the first color TV in the neighborhood. They broke up when graduation came around because they both wanted different things in their future. She wanted to go to a big city like Atlanta or Miami. David liked the smaller city that he knew most of his life.


Well, David then went off to college and while there met his college sweetheart, Grace, during his second year of college. They both went on to the University of West Florida where David got a degree in criminology and Grace got a teaching degree.


They got married in 1977 and were married for 38 years when Grace died of Cancer. Grace taught 4th grade most of those years and David worked with the Florida Marine Patrol and then Game and Fish Commission when they merged. They had three girls and 1 son during that time.


After getting tired of all of the hurricanes, David and Grace decided to move to Colorado Springs in 2000 and to restart their careers over again as a State Trooper and teacher. They lived in the Mountain Shadows area of the city and their home survived the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012, Unlike the 346 homes that didn’t make it.


David had to work during the fire helping people to evacuate, while Grace was home waiting for her husband and they both were trying to decide on the treatment to get for her cancer.


After Grace passed away, David decided to retire from the Colorado State Patrol. He felt like his heart was not in it anymore. His Captain was very understanding and wished him the best of luck. That was back in 2015.


Three years has gone by and David was not really seeing anybody. A date here and there. The longest relationship he had was maybe two months. He felt like he was not ready to move on with his life yet.


Well, 2018 comes around and David gets an invitation to his 45th High School reunion in Panama City. David had only missed his 40th reunion back in 2013. So it has been 15 years since he saw most of his friends.


In fact, it’s really been about 10 years since he went Panama City in 2008 when his parents passed away, 6 months apart. So this was going to be a chance to get some new and good memories of his home town.


David went ahead and got his tickets for the trip. Round trip was about $350 round trip from Denver International Airport to Panama City, via St. Louis. Not bad. Plus car rental and motel.


The day came to leave for the trip and it was a nice cool day to travel. David left about 7:00 to get to the Denver Airport by 8:30. He got to the massive airport a couple of minutes late because of the traffic and he decided to stop by Chick-Fil-A on the way up I-25.


David decided to park in the Economy Lot since it was $16 a day as compared to 45 for the regular lot. He finally found a parking space in the closest spot he could find. This was in the farthest parking area of the economy lot. Luckily, there was a shuttle bus that came by every 10 minutes. David took pictures of the area so he could find his car when he came home.


As David was getting on the bus, the driver told David, “I hope you can find some room.”


David looked in the bus and knew that the driver had a sense of humor since there was nobody but the driver and himself on the bus.

The Driver asked, “What Airline?”

“Southwest,” David replied, “Going to Panama City.”


“No, Florida. Going to my high school reunion.”

“Alone?” “

Yea. Should be a lot of fun.”

“Sounds like it. Don’t get in any trouble.”

What kind of trouble can a 62 year get into?


Well, David had problems finding the Southwest ticket counter. Had to go to the second floor and what seemed like a maze. Then when he got there, there were kiosk instead of ticket agents and you also had to tag your own bags. Kind of awkward if you never done it before. But he got through it ok.


Next step was getting through security. Even though the line was long, it was somewhat a breeze. The TSA person gave David a special purple sheet to bypass the shoe inspection. Got through security in five minutes.


Getting on the plane was a breeze also. Even though David was in the second group to get on the plane, he got a window seat right in front of the wing.


Got to St. Louis in about two hours plus the hour for the time change. Now there was a four hour late. Plus the plane coming in from Chicago was 40 minutes late. So, David got a chance to eat and walk through the concourse. Sure was a lot of beer establishments there.


As David was walking, he saw an older lady sitting in a wheelchair by herself near the information desk. She looked a little frustrated.


David asked her, “ Are you OK?

She answered back, “Do I look OK? I’ve been sitting here since 10 this morning (it’s 3:00 now) and I have no idea what is going on.”

David is wondering if he should ask any more questions. But he decides to risk it.

“Where are you heading?”

“Pittsburgh.” She sounds a little calmer. “How about you?”

“Heading to Panama City, Florida for a much needed vacation and high school reunion. How come you’re still here”

“Missed my connecting flight. Plane was late. They’re trying to figure out where to put me”

“They'll figure it out. Hopefully you won’t be here too much longer. I’m just walking around trying to get some steps in before my plane arrives. My flight is late from Chicago. I heard that is normal for that airport. If you are still here when I come back I’ll say hi again.”


Sure enough, after his walk through the airport, she was still there. David found out that she was from Los Angeles on her way to see her kids. And that her name was Sue. After talking with her for a few minutes, David heads back to his gate and waits for his flight to board.


Well, the flight is called about an hour later and people start to line up by groups. Since David was in Group B. He still had a few minutes before boarding. When he boards, he finds a seat on the front row and a window seat. He was very happy. He was seated next to two 25 year olds on their way to visit friends in Destin, Florida for the weekend. They talked for a few minutes and then they did all started to put on their earbuds until the end of their trip.


When the plane got to Panama City, it was about 6:30 and David was one of the first people off the plane. Since it would take a few minutes for his luggage to get off the plane, he decided to get his rental first. Well, since he was late, his choice for a car, Jeep Compass, (the same car he drives) was not available. So they gave him an upgrade, which was a Chevy Malibu.


David got his luggage and then tried to find his car. Since they moved the airport to a new location, it took him a few minutes to find his car. But he did find it. The car was great. It had push button start. He could also listen to his music from his phone through the radio via bluetooth. It’s been around for a few years, but this was the first time, David has ever used it. Now, the big trick was to try to get to the Uncle Ernie’s from the port within 30 minutes. Getting to State Road 388 was easy. The rest of the way was little awkward. He would not had made it without his Google Maps from his phone.


After David crossed the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, his GPS had him turn on a street he has never heard of before. No buildings, no nothing. He went that way anyway and he eventually got to Back Beach Road( U.S. Hwy 98). He did not recognize anything on that street since it had really built since he was last there 10 years ago.


David eventually got across Hathaway Bridge, even though he did a lot of sightseeing from his car. He was able to get to the restaurant only 30 minutes later than he expected due the late flight. When he got there, the place was packed. He didn’t know where his group was, so he asked the hostess where he needed to go. She had one of the waitresses take him up to the third floor of the restaurant where music was playing and his high school alumni were eating and talking. Or the other way around.


David recognized most of the people. Most of the people aged pretty good. He wondered what kind of life they lived and what they did. David was happy to see everybody. And talked to as many people as he could. He eventually started talking to Susan, who also grew up on the same street as he did,

“David”, Susan said, “I haven’t seen you since you left town. How long has it been?”

David responded, “We left in 2000. About 18 years ago,” “How have you been? I heard about your wife. Sorry to hear here.”

“I’ve been doing ok. It was a struggle but I have been trying to move forward. My kids have been helping me. They are now spread around the country. Have you heard from anybody from the old neighborhood?”

Susan told him about all of their friends: Tom, Jeff, Debbie, Barb and so many others. Then Susan mentions Carol Anne. David’s stomach felt some butterflies

“Carol is now living in San Francisco as some type of computer analyst for some big company there. Not sure which one.”

“Would you know if she is coming this week? David asks. “I heard she was coming.

But not tonight. Her plane was coming in late from St. Louis and she was afraid she would be too late... I forgot. You two were dating all through High School. Everybody thought you guys were going to get married after graduation.”

“We had different goals in our lives. You mean she was on the same plane I was. Didn’t see her on the plane. I was sitting on the front row. Guess I wasn’t very observant.”


They talked for 15 more minutes about what Susan has done over the years and also about some of their classmates. David decide it was getting a little late, said goodnight to everybody and decided to go look for his motel.


Since they haven’t moved it since he was last here 10 years ago, the motel was easy to find. Across from the mall. He checked in and got to bed around 11 that night.


The next morning, David decided to go to St. Andrews State Park and walk along the beach. The walk took about an hour and he got a good amount of sun. No really bad sunburn but just enough sun to feel it. Didn’t use any sunblock. Didn’t hear good news about sunblock.


That afternoon, David met his brother, Robert, at Cracker Barrel. They had catfish and talked about the old times growing up and their parents


Afterwards, David went back to his motel to shower again and watch a little news. To waste a little time, he decided to walk around the mall and talk to some of the store owners. The mall was very quiet for a Friday evening.


So, it was time to go to the reunion, which was being held at the Holiday Inn down the street and around the corner from motel.


David got there about 15 minutes early for the meet and greet. For some reason, everybody was hanging out in the lobby when they were suppose be hanging out in the bar area. There were twice as many people there than the previous night. About half-way through the night, David was talking with his friends, people started coming up to him and taping him on the shoulder.


David asked his friends, “Is there something on my back, like “kick me” or “tap my shoulder”?”


All his friends just laughed and answered no. About a minute later, another person tapped his shoulder. Feeling a little annoyed, David turned around and his high school sweetheart, Carol Anne, was standing behind him.


Before he could do anything, she gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. David, of course, returned the hug and kiss.


“Hi, David. It’s really nice to see you.”

“Carol, I haven’t seen you since graduation. My heart just skipped a beat when I saw you. How are you? What have you been doing with you life? I’ve just heard bits and pieces from people.”

“I’ve been in San Francisco most of these years as a freelance computer analyst. Just started doing that. Got tired of working for somebody else and decided to work for myself. Best decision I made.”

“Did you ever marry? Have kids?”

“No, Never had the time. That is one thing I really regretted. Heard about Grace. Sorry to hear that. How about you? Heard you were living in Colorado Springs.”


David told her about his career with the Florida Marine Patrol, Game and Fish Commission and then the Colorado State Patrol. They talked for about two hours about their lives and what they did and where they went.


When they kissed goodnight, David and Carol decided to meet for breakfast at IHOP which was halfway between their motels. Three doors down from David and around the block from Carol, who was staying at the LaQuinta.


After breakfast, they drove around town and David showed her the sights of town and stopped along the bay. They then went to the beach and they walked on the beach at the state park. Afterwards, they went to lunch at Margaritaville at Pier Park, which was across from the beach.


That evening was the last night of the reunion. After they talked with their friends and had their group pictures taken, David and Carol decided to take a walk to the pool and sat down to talk. They both were eager to talk to each other and getting away for a few minutes was the easiest way to do that.


They started to talk about their future and David invited Carol to come to Colorado Springs for a few days and he would show her around.


Carol answered, “That would be nice. I have never been to Colorado and the change would be nice. I hear that the mountains are pretty nice and tall there."

David responded, “Just a tad.”

“What happened between us? We were doing so well. All of a sudden, after graduation, it went downhill.”

“I don’t know, either. I used to wonder what would have happened if we did get married and stayed here. I was hoping that if you liked Colorado, you might decide to move and be an analyst there.”

“That would be nice, but I have so many clients there and they wouldn’t want to travel that far. I wouldn’t either.”

“You could get new clients there, couldn’t you?”

“It would be too hard to start over. And I love San Francisco too much. Despite the earthquakes.”

David paused for a minute to reflect and let out a small laugh..

“What?” Carol asked.

David replied, “I’m starting to remember now why we didn’t get married. We both wanted different things in our lives. You wanted the big city and I was happy where I was. Here, in Panama City.”

“...You’re right. It’s coming back to me also. I’m sorry it had to end that way”

“Me too. I hope it doesn’t have to end that way again. Why don’t we spend some time again tomorrow before we leave.”

“I wish I could. But I have to get back to San Francisco for a big meeting on Monday.”

“So...How about two old friends having one last dance before going home?” “Sounds Nice.”


David found a song on his phone, “Could I have this dance?” by Anne Murray. For the next couple of minutes, they danced to the song without falling in the pool. They went back to the ballroom where the reunion was and they started to mingle with the other alumni.


The evening eventually came to an end and everybody vowed to make it to the 65th birthday party that was being planned in a couple of years.


David and Carol exchanged phone numbers and gave each other a goodbye kiss and promised to meet again in a few months.


David had one more day and met his brother at the Starbucks next to the mall. Place was closed due to a bomb threat at the mall so the two of them just sat outside and chatted for a few minutes. They eventually hugged each other and said goodbye.


The next morning, David had breakfast at the motel and then checked out. Filled up his car and left for the motel. Since Panama City was a smaller airport, it was quicker to get his ticket and return the car. Getting through security was a different story.


The line through security seemed longer because the TSA was more thorough than in Denver. After going through the metal detector, they decided to frisk David because he had his sunglasses in his shirt pocket and Tums in his pants pocket. Then there was an unusual object in his backpack. Turned out to be a pair of pliers that he forgot to take out of his backpack. He used it to open his bottles of tea that were too hard too open. They confiscated the pliers.


Another four hour wait in St. Louis. Good thing that lady was not still there.


David found his car and eventually got home about 8:00 that evening and looked at all the pictures that he took, especially the ones of him and Carol.


He then looked at the pictures of him and Grace whom he loved and was married for so many years. He was lonely and decided that it was time to move on after three years.


So, he pick up the phone to make a call, "Carol Anne?………..

© Copyright 2019 Brian Lee Clements. All rights reserved.

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