The Fish Bowl

When people consider the idea of a reunion it comes with mixed emotions. Television would lead you to believe it’s another moment of “us and them”. Two groups will be polarized in extremes of fear and excitement. The fearful anticipate either a repeat of isolation or imagined retribution. Some decide it’s all too much and can’t get beyond that fear. They don’t realize it’s more than reminiscing. It’s cathartic and healing. If only they could step over that fear, then all of the baggage can be lifted away.

I recently went to the high school reunion for a different town where I attended elementary school. I wasn’t nervous until my car was parked and it was time to walk in. My memories were a mix of good and bad but over the years I had focused on the bad. I imagined myself as a victim and that only I had these stressful childhood moments of being bullied.
When we walked into the room there was a fish bowl. It was a place to share anonymous memories and shenanigans to be read aloud. Even though it was anonymous we only shared the funny and light-hearted moments without digging too deep. In small conversations around the room the story finally started to surface. You were mean. So and so would not come because no one was nice to them. They only remember division. What those people do not get to experience is there was never a “you and them”. We were all stuck in the same fish bowl and as one person so insightfully put it, “All of us tried to survive in our own way.” I was picked on, but looking back I also found my own ways to hurt others. We were kids in a small space and all trying to figure out life from that confined space.

Reunions give a clear perspective that we are all just a bunch of grown ups with joy, heart ache and a few shared moments. It’s a chance to create a new memory and replace any childhood drama with something fresh. It doesn’t matter what part you played in the Breakfast Club. We all had a part and standing back you might see how funny it really was.

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Patricia Thackham Roberts

Patricia Roberts

Trish grew up in Finley and now lives in Spokane. She works in corporate America but teaches painting classes on the side. In her free time she writes quirky stories about her life, bikes great distances and takes road trips to odd little towns. She is fascinated with post-apocalyptic fiction and attributes this to growing up in the Tri-Cities.

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  • Oooh…timely. Going to a high school reunion this weekend. Thanks for this Patricia.