potentially silent reunions

i met up with alot of friends over the last month or so. it was the december holidays and, although i had my finals to study for, i can never resist a good old reunion.

during the mamak sessions, one question that continually bugged me was when we all start working and really going into the careers we have each chosen for ourselves, will we still have common topics to talk about? most of us are still doing the “lectures-and-assignments” routine now, but the bulk of us will be out in the working world by the end of the year.

what will we talk about then?

there’s only so much reminiscing we can do, there’s only that much bitching about work we can entertain each other with. when the words dry out, will past bonds of friendship, that stretch as far as into the days of primary school, suffice to keep us together?

my parents have organised reunions for their senior middle three (form 3) class for over 20 years. when they get together, they have tonnes to talk about. they update each other on their lives, on the lives of other mutual friends, any news of their teachers (one teacher has been regularly attending the reunions – he’s 80+ now), and speak proudly of their children.

out of the 15 people or so that show up each year, my parents can only call maybe 5 of them their close friends – people whom they keep in touch with throughout the year and visit during chinese new year. the rest are “just” old classmates they see during the reunions or send greeting cards to. nothing more.

yet those reunions, held twice a year, go on for more than two hours at a time and are always filled with laughter and gossip. i should know – i have been attending them since i was born.

i wonder if my friends and i will be able to have 2-hr long conversations over a round table with a pink tablecloth in 20 years’ time.

i may have to rethink categorising those who mostly only reminisce about the past during reunions as people who have trouble moving on. perhaps there’s really more to it than the futile grasping of whatever we have left of our memories in school.

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