This Sunday, there were two things:
I don't stay in touch with people from high school.
I just don't.
Maybe that indicates I'm a bad friend.
Maybe it just indicates that our lives have taken completely different paths.
Whatever the reason, I don't maintain contact.
There are three - total - people that I semi-keep in touch with.
(to be read, about once or twice a year, maybe, one of us gets nostalgic and calls the other person)
Seth, the person I would have termed my "best friend" from high school, called yesterday.
I assumed he was nostalgic when I saw the number on my caller ID.
I was WRONG.
Me: "Hel . . . "
Seth: "Do you have a yearbook at your house?"
Seth: "A yearbook. Do you have a year book?"
Me: "Uh . . . yes?"
Seth: "Get it out. I have an experiment."
Me: "Is this for your class or mine?"
(Seth was a year younger in school because he moved to Hope, AR from Montana and they wouldn't count three of his classes)
Seth: "I did mine. Let's do yours."
I dig through my closet and come up with four yearbooks.
Me: "Which year?"
Seth: "Doesn't matter. You got your Senior one there? Use it."
This is SO not going where you think it's going.
Seth gets his matching yearbook and my curiosity is piqued beyond reason.
Me: "What EXACTLY are we doing?"
Seth: "Lisa (his mom, yes he calls her Lisa, don't ask) called and told me T.E. died last weekend. It got me thinking, how many of our classmates are still alive?"
Okay, so this could seem like a really odd thing.
We're from Hope.
Next to Little Rock, Hope is one of the biggest gang towns.
We have NO idea why.
Probably because of the make-up of the town.
The Junior High was across from a crackhouse.
One of my "friends" was shot in a drive-by in First Grade.
Several of my friends died in Junior High.
More died in high school.
So . . . the Senior Year yearbook isn't EXACTLY representative.
But Seth and I were wondering about the Where Are They Now thing more than the how many people died total.
So we started making lists.
Out of MY Senior class alone:
23% of the total people are unaccounted for.
Meaning we have no idea where they are or what they're doing.
It would have been a LOT more, but Seth keeps in touch with high schoolers better than I do . . . and still visits home a lot. Where MOST of my graduating class STILL lives and works and dies.
11% of the total people are dead.
11% of around 300.
I'm 25 and a little over 30 people I graduated with are already dead.
Could be more, considering there are over 60 we can't account for.
Out of those 11 % . . .
7 % were gang related deaths.
2 % were armed forces deaths overseas.
2 % were deaths we weren't sure of.
We know they're gone.
We just can't remember the hows and whys.
Seth's class wasn't as bad.
It was bad, but not 11 % bad.
It makes me wonder what the stats on my brother's class are.
I may call him tonight.
Then again, maybe not.
These stats are DEPRESSING.
I have been mouthing about starting to run.
Jason has been offering to help.
We've had LONG discussions about how to build me up to actually running.
Then I got sick, and couldn't attempt it.
But this weekend was a turning point.
I felt well.
Well, as well as I get.
So I decided to try running Sunday after my mom left town.
I called Jason and got pointers, again.
Jason: "Whatever you do, DO NOT push yourself too hard. With your hip and everything else, I want to start really slow. Where are you running? Your neighborhood?"
Me: "Nope, too scared to take the hip on the asphalt. I'm going to the McGhee center and running the track."
Jason: "Perfect! Instead of doing 10 minute walks and 2 minute runs, I want you to try this; Walk the straights and run the curves. It will be a slow start, but a good one. DO NOT sprint, DO NOT even run fast, just a slight jog. Barely faster than a walk. I just want your body to get used to the motions. We'll build up to the rest."
Me: "Yes, sir."
Jason: "I know you. I'm tempted to come down there with you. You'll push yourself too much. Seriously, Meg, don't do it. It's not worth it. Not with your history. Just barely jog and ONLY the curves. We'll get to the rest."
Me: "Uh huh. Gotta go, McGhee closes early on Sunday."
Normally Jason's right.
I would NOT heed his warnings and I would just all out do the damn thing.
But . . . I know how walking 3.6 miles per hour on the treadmill at the gym affects my hip, and running will be worse.
I also know that I'm not COMPLETELY over the illness, because I still spend about 2 hours of the night coughing and the other 4-5 hours of it sleeping.
So I'm listening to Jason.
I get to McGhee and up to the track.
Walking the straights, running the curves.
Listening to "Booty Shakin Hits Vol. One" to keep myself motivated.
This isn't so bad.
Yeah, the running part is killing my chest, but the hip is fine.
Coughing a bit.
The hotter I get, the more I cough.
But not worrying about it.
Covering my mouth with my hand to keep my germs from others.
I'm doing good.
Then I look down, after only 3/4 of a mile.
My hand has red in it.
I sit on the bench, pull my cell from my pocket, call Amanda and freak:
"I'm coughing blood again, Manda. BLOOD. It's not much, but it's enough to freak me out. Tell me to calm down and tell me it's nothing."
Amanda, used to my freak outs when I'm sick or getting sick again:
"Meg, calm down. It's NOTHING. It's just like it was a week ago. You've coughed so much at night that you've made your throat raw. You probably just aggrivated it further. It's no biggie. If you think it is, call Naylor in the morning."
Me: "Umm, I was jogging."
Amanda: "Stupid bitch. You're sick. No wonder you're coughing blood."
Me: "I've been sick a damn month, I just wanted to do SOMETHING active."
Amanda: "Then go to your gym and do the free weights. Don't jog, moron."
I have the immune system of a gay man in the 80's.
I can't even run.
If this were a horror movie and I was being chased by a psycho with a knife, I would be cut into ribbons.