The Nebraskan Reunification
“Gretna High School? Why would my old high school be sending me a letter?” Penny rips open an envelope as she stands at the apartment building community mailboxes late one Saturday afternoon.
Sheldon extracts his own mail then peeks over Penny’s shoulder. “Finally sending you the results on your General Equivalency Testing Exam?”
“Hey! I graduated from high school, Sheldon,” Penny snaps. “Barely,” she adds under her breath.
“Then what is it?”
Unfolding the paper in her hand, Penny looks confused. “Is it that time already? Have I been out of school that long?”
“High school?” It’s my belief you weren’t there nearly long enough.”
“Shut up, Sheldon. It’s an invitation to my high school reunion in Nebraska. They’re going to have a mixer, a picnic and then a formal dance. It says it’s being organized by my friends Carrie Ellis and Jarret Timmons.”
“I don’t know those people. My interest has dissipated.” Sheldon leaves Penny’s side and starts up the stairs.
Penny follows. “Did you ever go to your high school reunion?” she asks.
“Oh, heavens, no. I wasn’t friends with any of those people. Besides, they’re probably all dead now.”
“Sheldon, that’s a horrible thing to say!”
He shrugs. “Why is that so horrible? It’s true. They were all so much older than I. I’m a genius, remember? I attended high school at a very young age and for a very short time as well.”
“Yes, Sheldon, I know. I was dumb to think you might actually care about someone from your past.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Sheldon stops and looks at Penny as they reach the fourth floor. “I’ve come to tolerate you being dumb. I’ve become accustomed to it actually.”
Without a word, Penny turns, unlocks the door to her apartment and shuts the door. Sheldon proceeds into his own apartment.
Leonard is sitting on Penny’s couch playing Grand Theft Auto. “Oh, yeah. C’mon. There ya go!” He jerks his body from one side to the other as he delves farther and farther into the video game.
“Hi, sweetie,” Penny says as she kisses her husband on the cheek. “How was your day?”
“Good, good,” Leonard says without looking up, game music blaring. “How was shopping?”
“Good, good,” Penny exclaims. “I bought a couple new outfits and several new pairs of shoes.” She lifts colorful bags but Leonard doesn’t notice. “I also got something else today.” She rounds the couch and places her bags on the floor.
“Good, good,” Leonard repeats, not focusing on his wife’s words.
Penny sits next to him. “It came in the mail and I’m thinking about going.”
“Where’s that, hon?” Leonard jerks his body again, tongue between his teeth as he stares at the gaming screen.
“Leonard, are you hearing me?” Penny waves the open envelope before Leonard’s bespectacled eyes. “I want to take you to my old stomping grounds; show you off a little.”
“Aww, man. Crap!” Leonard messes up his game when his vision is interrupted. “What’d you do that for?”
“Because I’m trying to talk to you about something. I’m kind of excited about this.”
“What?” There is a bit of annoyance in Leonard’s voice.
Handing the envelope to Leonard, Penny watches him read.
“Your high school reunion? You really want to go to something like that?” He begins to laugh.
“Sure, why not?”
“You want to see people who made fun of you, called you names and stuffed you into lockers? How could you subject yourself to that?”
“That happened to you, Leonard, not me. I had friends; good friends. We went to football games and bonfires, had sleepovers. We went to movies and parties. You name it we probably did it.”
“Your school days were much different than mine then. I don’t have fond memories of those times.”
“I know you were bullied. I’ve heard your stories. Just go with me and you can be part of a good experience. We can make memories together with my friends. It’ll be fun, you’ll see.”
“You know, it would be nice to sit at the cool table for once.” A smile spread across Leonard’s face.
“So you’ll go?”
“Yeah, I think so. Let’s go to Nebraska.”
“Oh, Leonard!” Penny hugs him around the neck. “I can’t wait for you to meet my friends Rachael Langdon, Isabelle Lambert, Ellie Harris. I wonder what they all look like now.”
“I’m sure not nearly as beautiful as you.”
“Grayson Shale and Coby Yowell. They were big football players back then.”
“They’re probably fat and bald now,” Leonard surmises.
“I have a million things to do before we go. I need to go through the closet and decide what to wear. I’ll probably need to go shopping again, get my hair and nails done…” Penny walks to the bedroom as her thoughts travel in all different directions.
“I’ll need to get my allergy medication refilled, get more inhalers and make sure I pack extra glasses. Boy, I was a nerd in high school and I still am.” Leonard sighs and coughs.