Over my holidays I learned a classmate from my graduating class passed away in July from cancer. He hung with the head bangers (mullets, jean jackets, and heavy metal crowd) as the quiet one of this bunch. While he looked gaunt, he had the same eyes and face I can still remember. I find myself remembering pieces of my school years, and his face strangely stuck in my memory. His death had no obituary, and he would celebrate his 44th birthday tomorrow. According to the Facebook post he passed surrounded by his family.
Meanwhile another classmate in my graduating class, one I knew really well, had her first grandchild. In fact she’s the second person I knew to have a grandchild as another had that honour at age 40. It’s the way the old neighbourhood runs. People have boyfriends/girlfriends they marry, and some divorce to remarry again and again and again. In between they have children. In my 20’s it irked me I didn’t have those basic milestones like everyone else.
At 45 those worries fade farther and farther in my rear view. (Note: I was left back in grade 1, therefore a year older than everyone else in my grade all through school.) This year I joined two separate Facebook groups, one for junior high I attended, and the other for high school. I don’t know if any reconnecting will happen, but I felt it was time.
Those years had many good memories mixed with a lot of bad. Take one look at my name (Fatima) and take a wild guess what bullies can do with it? In fact I want to take a TARDIS back to those years, tell that girl she’s not as big as everyone thinks she looks. I would also tell her ‘your life is now.’
Every year I get older, I get reminded more of life passes behind me. I had an inkling my life is now not if I have a man, not if I make this x-amount per year at a job, and not if I can meet an ideal body type.
So this is for the Valley Gardens Junior High class of 1986 and for the Kildonan East Class of 1989. Raise a glass to friends far away or passed away; Deal with your demons; Celebrate your triumphs; Hug your loved ones.
Your life is now.