Alumni Party

(short story)

The alumnus meeting is a serious event. Everyone is trying to look his or her best. The best clothes and makeup, the best hairstyles and jewelry. All girls look like fancy fashion models. Wow! Here everyone is trying to be better than he or she is, everyone is bragging about everything that he or she managed to achieve during past ten years. Career and money, family and children, travel and everything noticeable, everything that one can envy at least a little.

Against the background of the glittering crowd, Valery, a modest guy with sad eyes, got a little lost. He did not shout about his successes. He just sat quietly at the table and listened to other people’s stories with a slight smile.

“And where is Maxim? I wanted so much to see what he became,” one of the girls suddenly asked.

“Who is Maxim?” the guy sitting next to him immediately frowned.

“Well, he studied with us, such a tall blond. He dressed like a bandit and always smelled of cigarettes”, the beauty wrinkled her nose. She was wearing expensive jewelry. She had recently married successfully and tried to demonstrate the juice of her husband. “He’s probably in jail! Hooligan!”

“He was smart. I heard he went to study somewhere after school.”

“Maxim entered the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute,” Valery finally said, “but for some reason he had to give up his studies in Ukraine and graduated from a university in Italy.

Everyone suddenly stared at Andrey.

“Exactly, Maxim did not communicate with anyone in the class, only with you and Matvey. By the way, he is not here either.”

“They couldn’t come, there are up to ears in work now.”

“What, do you work with them too?”

“Yeah, in the same company,” Valery smiled, “but now they are so swamped with work that only I could come.”

“Well, I think that’s easy to understand. I mean, you are hardly such a valuable and irreplaceable employee. You’re just Valery,” the guys laughed.

“Valery, do not be offended, but you really are what you were! Our good old fool. You can’t even get your hair cut right. And how did Maxim and Matvey manage to make you work? It looks like they begged their superiors to take you on.”

The evening went on, everyone remembered old friends and their fates.

“They say Vlad lost his job. But he has already got a family!”

“Remember Svetlana, right? She has her own business. Such a big-league business lady. And in a relationship with Anton! That boxer from the school club. What did she find in him? He had punching problems with his head…”

“Stas surprised everyone so much, he works as a pharmacist. Nobody expected this.”

“I heard that Artyom is going to marry.”

“Oh, you’re lying, who will marry this loggerhead?”

“And I overheard, on the contrary, that he became handsome, girls run after him in crowds.”

“Suddenly Valery choked on mineral water and cleared his throat while thinking to himself, “It’s good that Artyom hates noisy gatherings, and that’s why he didn’t come…”

“Hey, Dim, have not you married yet?”

“Not yet, I have recently broken up with my girlfriend.”

A few hours later, the noisy company finally call it a night saying, “”Gotta go and bye-bye butterfly!”

Valery, having said goodbye to everyone, walked to his brand new car. Nobody guessed that the assets of his startup software company exceeded 1 million dollars…

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