Boarding School Reunion Adventures: Justin Grimbol





June 2017

Boarding School Reunion 



When I was a teenager I went to a boarding school called Buxton. It was a small school, about ninety kids hidden away in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I smoked a lot of weed there and cuddled with friends. We all smelled bad and dressed sloppy acted like we hated the place.

Every couple years Buxton puts on a reunion. All classes are invited. So there’s mixture of overly bohemian young folks, young parents and some old people. There’s this one guy who shows up every reunion. He is fat and has a long grey goatee who has this massive confusing belt buckle and cargo shorts and spindly legs and he wears a cowboy hat and sometimes I think he might be the future me. I can’t tell if it’s a happy future or a sad one. Either way, I keep my distance from him.

The last reunion had lots of babies. Everyone had a baby or two. Except me and some of my buddies. We just smoked weed and played with everyone else’s kids. While we did this we talked candidly. I told them I just started taking medication for anxiety. I felt self-conscious about this. But I tried to act apathetic. Then they told me they were all on meds as well, but for other things. We got to laughing and smoking more.

Once it was dark we gathered at the library patio, ate pizza and danced. I ate too much pizza to really get into dancing so I sat in the library on a comfortable couch with my old buddy Tyler.

At one point I saw him staring at a woman. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

“Are you rock hard right now?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

I pointed at his penis.

“That thing. It’s Stone Hedge right now.”

“No, I’m okay.”

He kept staring.

Eventually the woman noticed Tyler staring. She came over. She had her phone in her hands. She told us she had left her four year old sleeping in one of the dorm rooms on the other side of campus. To monitor the child, she had an open call to her. She placed her phone on the bookshelf behind the couch.

“If you hear crying, you will come and find me right?” she said. “I mean, I’m not being a bad parents right?”

We didn’t really know how to respond. She repeated the situation some more. The phone was her link to the child. It was on an open call. If the child woke up and started crying, we’d hear it. Maybe. We mentioned the music that was playing. It was really loud. She told us the child could really cry.

She walked off and started dancing. She was really tall and fancy looking. Everyone there looked really tall and fancy.

Tyler and I talked over the situation for a while. We both felt uncomfortable about the whole thing. Eventually, we went looking for the woman. But we couldn’t find her.

“Does this mean the child is our responsibility now?” I asked.

“Are we going to have to raise it together?” Tyler said.

“Fuck, I don’t know.”

Tyler held the phone up to his ear.

“I don’t hear anything,” he said. “Is this kid even real?”

“It might be a ghost kid.”

“I think the kids probably real.”


“Very real.”

“Not a ghost.”

“No. A real living child.”


We sat back on the couch with the phone and talked about old times. As Freshmen, we had lived together in a tiny dorm room that the kids called ‘Box.’ Tyler slept on the top bunk. I slept on the lower bunk. Once he taped plastic bags over my feet because they smelled so awful. Another time I rubbed Icy Hot on my nipples and weener as some sort of endurance test. We were young and restless. Both of us were bad with girls. We were too sensitive. Often we’d cry at night. He’d be crying on his bed. I’d crying lying on mine. Our friend Andy caught us like this on a few occasions. He’d laugh then try and console us. We’d stay up all night talking. And laughing. In the morning, we’d be exhausted. Being tired was good. I preferred it that way.




Justin Grimbol is the author of COME HOME, WE LOVE YOU STILL, MINIVAN POEMS, and THE PARTY LORDS. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont. 


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