“I guess not,” Brandi said, she staggered to her feet and took the arm Matt offered. “I’m sorry,” she said.
“Why? What do you have to be sorry about?”
“I am sorry about the way I acted in high school. I’m sorry I haven’t ever accomplished anything. I’m sorry I came to this reunion still hoping I was better than everyone.” Brandi stopped. Color rose in her cheeks and she immediately knew she’d gone so far.
Matt just looked sort of amused.
“I also was looking for you specifically,” he said. “I work with Sharon. She’s your friend, right? I overheard her talking to another coworker about her friend’s high school reunion and how she was going to help her friend shop and get ready. I was interested because it was my class reunion and I thought I may knew who she was talking about.”
Now Brandi was really embarrassed. Sharon was her best friend, surely she hadn’t told Matt too much?
“She told me her friend was Brandi,” Matt continued, “I told her I’d had a crush on you all through high school. I asked her for an update of your life and she told me that you’d divorced Greg. I’ve been thinking about you since Sharon mentioned you and I wanted to see you.”
“Did she tell you what a mess I am?”
“No,” he said with a smile, “I figured that out all on my own.”
“Hey,” she said.
“I’m teasing,” Matt said, “You look great. You stood up for yourself back there. You are not a mess.”
Brandi look unconvinced.
“Do you remember when we were freshmen and I slipped on the stairs and my backpack flew open and all my books and papers scattered everywhere?”
“Um…” Brandi didn’t remember this at all.
“Yes,” he said, “It was right on the front steps to the school and everyone was laughing at me and kids were pretending to steal my things. I was humiliated. You stopped what you were doing and you started gathering up things and giving them to me. You were Brandi and even though you were a freshman too, people knew you and other people started helping me pick up my books too. You were really kind.”
“Wait, that was you?” Brandi did have a vague memory of it. “That’s just what you do when someone needs help,” she said simply.
“It’s not what everyone does,” Matt said.
They walked along in silence and he unlocked the passenger door of his car for her. She climbed in and when he got behind the wheel he said, “You are too hard on yourself. You don’t need to work so hard to impress people.”
Brandi smiled in the dark car and her shoulders relaxed for the first time in days.
Maybe she was going to be all right.
Leave a comment if you'd like to know more about Matt and Brandi. We may write more if we get enough interest in their story!