|Matt, me, Rob, Brandon, Byro|
Sadly, I don't even remember this particular evening. I do remember those awesome orange polka dot shorts. On a side note, I'm the only one who hasn't been married, although I missed Matt's wedding and I'm not even sure if Brandon had a reception for his.
Did I love high school? Yes and no. I was a year younger than most of my friends, and while I look the same in this picture, I felt like I was trying to catch up to everyone most of the time. Not academically so much as physically, emotionally, and maybe the whole Kailua thing played against me as well, being so far from town made the simple task of getting to/from school a bit of a logistical juggle. Aside from that, however, being a student at Punahou is a privilege I understood reasonably well at the time and I've come to understand even better as I age. It's been said that many Punahou grads find college to be a letdown after Punahou. And yet, in Hawaii you never want to stand out, especially not for being privileged, white, or successful. It's much safer to be a face in the crowd, to go with the flow. As such, Punahou is a simultaneous badge of honor and source of shame depending on the situation and the crowd.
Matt started his own business, a nursery for native hawaiian plants based out of Waimanalo and then I think more recently he has moved to Kaneohe. I haven't seen him since before the wedding. I owe him a visit next time I am home.
Rob moved to Tahoe the last I heard, he is married and has at least one kid, maybe 2. It's been a while. We had a bit of a silly falling out over nothing of any importance and haven't talked much. Sad. I owe him a call. He is always busy and can be a bit overly sarcastic, just like his father.
Brandon I've seen a little bit since he got married, but he has found a great niche with his hobbies and his work and family life. When it comes to loyalty and steadfastness, I can't think of anyone who matches up to Brandon, especially regarding his family. I know I could knock on his parent's front door tomorrow and they would welcome me in just like they always have.
Byro I've seen the most recently since he lives in Portland and I wind up there every year for Hood to Coast. He got married young, and sadly it did not last although the guy has managed to get through the tough times remarkably well. He drinks and smokes and works construction and is pretty darn happy most of the time. There are still things I could learn from Byro, perhaps the most important one to remember is to keep my distance from him to avoid the annual quad punches he likes to deliver as I limp around after the race.
We were all so different then and we're even more different now, but we shared an education unlike any other. The bonds formed at Punahou are strong, often much stronger than those made in college, because many of us started in 4th grade like Brandon and I or kindergarten like I think Byro did.
This year, 2012, marks my 20th year since graduating high school. It's a trip to think I am halfway dead. I barely feel like I've learned enough to know how to live through the day and somehow I'm in the locker room at halftime in the game of life.