1.20.2006

What ever happened to...?

Because I can't always waste this precious blog space whining about the trials of the single life, I've decided to change the theme of my Friday edition.

For your amusement or bemusement, as the case may be, I now present Flashback Fridays.




"I wonder whatever happened to...?"

We all have that someone from our past who occasionally pops up in our present consciousness. I have to remember back to the Dark Ages (also known as my high school days) to find that certain person who still manages to lurk in the recesses of my brain. His name was Gruver. (Technically, this was his last name, but I never referred to him by his first name.)

Originally from the city, Gruver moved to my small-town, country high school during our sophomore year. I remember the day when the school bus that I had ridden for years made an unfamiliar stop and Gruver boarded. Natural platinum blond hair, an Izod shirt and khakis -- he stood out in a crowd of students whose Sunday's best included Wrangler jeans and Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirts. For weeks, Gruver stayed silent during the 30-minute bus commute, never making eye contact with anyone.

It's always been my nature to hone in on the stranger or the loner. It was no different with Gruver. I tried to make small talk with this boy, but Gruver didn't want to respond to me. His mannerisms were cool and aloof. It seemed to me that Gruver didn't want to be in Franklin County, Virginia and he had no interest in making friends.

But, I like challenges.

We gradually did become something that resembled friends, although we were polar opposites in many respects. Gruver, the perennial, conservative, rule-follower often voiced opinions that flew my face. And because he was always so sure of himself, I revelled in challenging Gruver at every turn. By our Junior year we shared almost every class, and Gruver and I did a lot of bickering. We'd grow tired of each other, go weeks without speaking, and then start the cycle over again.

Looking back on those years, I realize I harbored a huge crush on Gruver. Like the elementary school boy who pulls the hair of the pretty girl, I chose to vent my frustrations through snappy dialogue and put downs, rather than express what I was feeling. I can't help but wonder what he Gruver really thought about me.

The last time I saw Gruver was on the occasion of our high school graduation. Together, we took the stage to speak to our classmates. When Gruver, the class valedictorian, began his speech by referring to the audience of red-capped seniors as his "friends," I smiled. The boy who never wanted to be with us had become one of us.

After the ceremony was over, Gruver and I rode over to Roanoke's Mill Mountain Star (a mountain-top neon star that overlooked the nearby city) as "Holding Back the Years" blared from the car radio. I never would have thought that graduation evening would be among our last together. But it was.

What ever happened to Gruver? Beyond graduating from the University of Virginia, I do not know. But whenever I hear a Simply Red song or gaze at the Roanoke Star, I can't help but think of him and wonder.

4 comments:

JustJunebug said...

i loved that story. even hungover i managed a smile.

i think we are very similar.

David said...

That was a great story and I bet where ever he is, he would be touched that you remember him.

I tried to post comments on your other blog, but for some reason it would not let me?

queenofsass said...

We can only hope that he stays there...he was combination brainy caveman.

3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) said...

Beautifully written recollection from the past. I sometimes (usually around Holidays of when I hear music that reminds me of the pasy) will wonder what happened to a friend from decades ago. Usually a boy or X-boyfriend. (I have gone as far as to google them! Just for kicks.) ;-)

3T