Love Therapy, by Fiona McGier, chapters 1-4
Miguel's first love, his high school sweetheart, was the woman he wanted to marry...because they belonged together. But she had a different kind of future in mind and left for college, leaving him and his broken heart behind. 20 years later he saw her at their high school reunion. Will he walk away this time? Or is it still meant to be? And what will his family think?
Miguel Reyes groaned inwardly as he once again, sorted through the pile of mail that he had been shuffling from one place to another to avoid having to deal with it. Most of it was bills awaiting his next paycheck for him to pay them. But one was the invitation he was trying not to have to think about. He checked the date that was on it, telling what date he had to RSVP by, and saw that it was tomorrow. He sighed aloud...he hadn't realized he had been putting this off for so long. He had to make a decision, and now, then return the damn thing and be done with it! The invitation was to the twentieth reunion of his high school class.
"Who wants to go to these stupid things?" He asked himself. "After all, if you want to stay in touch with people, especially if you still live in the same state, you do. If you don't, why would you even want to see them again?"
He thought of his tenth reunion. He had not wanted to go to that one either. But he had gone, and had hooked up with one of the blond cheerleaders whom he had lusted after in a big way, back when they were in middle school and through their junior year of high school. Back then he was too insecure to even think about asking her out, despite their being in many classes together, for six years.
Later, when they were making afterwards conversation, she had informed him that she had lusted after him too, but that her parents would never have allowed her to date a Hispanic, especially someone like him, from a large Mexican family. He was amused at her admission, and they had a few dates before he got bored with her vapid conversation and their lack of anything in common. They had parted as friends, and now he wondered if she would be there. He had no plans to attempt to connect with her ever again, but was amused thinking that since that had been the result of his last attendance at a reunion, who might he discover at this one?
Miguel thought of his current state of being. His favorite sister Catalina had gotten married last year, and was now pregnant with her first child with her psychologist husband. For years Miguel had dated women like her: free spirits who followed no rules but their own, and had their choice of men wherever they chose to look for them. He had been encouraged by her falling so hard for her husband, because he took that as a sign that it was possible that sooner or later, one of the women he pursued might decide that it was time for her to settle down. He wanted to be the man they chose to do it with.
While he was aware that only women were supposed to have biological clocks that made them get increasingly frantic to start a family before they turned forty, he was surprised to find himself often wondering what he was missing in his life. Being from a family of eight kids, he had always assumed that everyone got married and had families. Their oldest sister Rosa was married with kids, as was their sister Teresa, who was next in age after Catalina, who was two years younger than him. Their oldest brother Enrique was married with two kids of his own, but they didn't see him often, since he had chosen to make his home in the small town in Mexico that their paternal grandfather had been from. Now that Catalina was pregnant, that made four of them married with kids, and four single and childless.
Resolutely, Miguel looked over the invitation again.
"Well, I guess I'll never know unless I go, what might happen," he thought to himself. "So I'll say yes and that way I have the option of going, if nothing better turns up for me to do that night. If it does, I'll just blow the whole thing off, and consider the $85 as a donation to the class."
So he marked an X next to Yes, and filled in one only, no guest, then he wrote a check, and put everything into the envelope and sealed it closed.
"There, done," he thought, amused that he had agonized so long over such a trivial event. Then he went on to the other things that were in his pile, and he dealt with whatever didn't require checks yet, then opened a bottle of beer, to relax in front of the television until he fell asleep during the Tonight Show monologue.