Epilogue: Of Mud and Laces
Two years later, a classroom was filled with students. There were lots who were standing and fighting for a better position. The door opened and the professor walked in, he was wearing rugged clothes, his shoes were muddy and the laces untied. He sat on top of the table and smiled at everyone.
Jeff’s hair grew long again, he was earning a decent pay but his appearance never showed it.
“Good morning!!! Wow! Are you sure you are all enrolled in my class? How come I can see many familiar faces? I never failed a student as far as I can remember. Why are some of you here again?” Jeff asked.
“Tell us the story again sir, the story you told us last year” one girl said. Jeff laughed and shook his head. “I am sorry, I can’t do that, the book is already published. Oh and I can see a lot of you have my book, that’s flattering” he told them.
“Professor, about your book, there seems to be something missing. The ending is hanging, why is that?” one student asked and again Jeff laughed. “Excuse me are you really our professor? Sorry to ask but why are your shoes muddy and unlaced?” another student asked. “Dumbass! Read the book so you will know why!” a lady student said and Jeff laughed louder.
“Okay please no name calling, since this is the first day of school then I will allow you to ask questions and I will answer them honestly” Jeff told them. A lot of students were raising their hands and most of them were his students last year. “Wow, I think this won’t work so let me just explain why the book ended that way. You see the publisher was egging me to finish it, even though I explained to them that I am still waiting for the happy ending they would not listen. So i submitted my copy, I thought they won’t publish it since it had an open ending but they did. They said let the readers finish the story according to their imagination” Jeff explained.
“Sir that may work for a few but for us who know you we want to know the real ending” a lady student said. “Just like I said, the last chapter isn’t written yet, so I can’t tell you how it ends” Jeff replied.
“Sir did you and Anya get back together?” one asked and Jeff laughed. “Do you think she would let me teach if we were together? And you read about her, if you were me would you get back together with her?” Jeff asked and there was a loud negative response.
“Sir what happened to Nadine?” a gentleman in front asked and Jeff shrugged his shoulders. “Two years I have never seen her, I have no idea where she went” he replied. “Sir you don’t tie your shoe laces, don’t tell us you don’t know how to tie them” one student said and the room erupted in laughter. “You want me to tie them for you sir?” a young lady asked. “Hey! You new students read the book first! The professor never lets anyone touch his shoelaces! Last year there were some who tried but he never let them. Go buy the book and read it!” one loyalist said. “Sorry for asking mister know it all! I was just riding the wave of the humor!” she shouted and Jeff laughed and shook his head.
“I bet you a hundred he will let me tie his shoe laces” a lady voice was heard saying. Jeff looked at the crowd but he could not see where it came from. “Yeah right! Make it a thousand!” a man replied. The lady stood up and Jeff froze and stared at her. “Fine, a thousand dollars then, I am going to walk towards the professor and I will tie his shoe laces” she said and everyone laughed. “Good luck! As if he would let you!” one shouted.
For two years they have not seen each other, Jeff just watched Nadine walk towards him. Everyone didn’t know who she was, but they noticed her muddy shoes and untied shoe laces. The room fell silent as Nadine and Jeff both stared at each other. Nadine knelt down on her knee but Jeff stood up, “See I told you he won’t let you!!!” shouted a student.
Jeff knelt down on one knee and he extended his other foot forward, Nadine did the same and they both tied each other’s shoe laces. Everyone was shocked; a lot of buzzing and whispers were heard. The two in front changed positions and got on their other knees and again extended their untied shoes to each other. Once they were done they both stood up and smiled at each other.
“Oh my God! She has blond hair! That is Nadine!!!” one shouted and a lot were almost teary eyed. “Is that really her?” one asked. “Of course it’s her, she tied his shoe laces and he let her do it. He even tied her shoe laces!” another one replied.
Jeff and Nadine were laughing hearing those comments from the students. Jeff extended his hand and Nadine grabbed it, everyone was clapping their hands and Jeff bowed to them and smiled. The two went straight for the door and everyone else rushed to follow them.
Hand in hand they walked the campus and headed towards their sweet spot. The students followed them and more curious people joined in. Through the mud they walked and they just kept silent and smiling at each other. “Why are they not talking?” one asked, “I don’t know, maybe they are just too happy to speak” a girl replied. “Nope, I they don’t know the right words to say, yeah maybe they don’t want to mess up their greeting” another commented. “Oh shut up and let’s just follow them” the girl said.
Jeff and Nadine reached the tree; one student raised his arms and faced his fellow students who were still struggling through the mud. “We cannot go any farther, let them have their moment” he shouted. Jeff and Nadine laughed hearing this and they both stared at the tree. Nadine noticed a lot of stick figures added on to the ones she etched herself, she looked at Jeff and knew they were the number of day he had not seen her.
They walked towards the Tulips, but Jeff pulled Nadine’s arm and they walked up the inclined slope. He pointed towards the Tulips and from there she could see there was a marvelous formation that spelled her name. They go back under the tree and Nadine takes out a copy of his book and a pen from her bag. She opens the book and hands him the pen, Jeff took the pen and scribbled on the first page and smiles at her.
Nadine takes a look at the autograph but it was not his signature written there, she blushes and looks at him and smiles. “I love you too” she replies.
Under the tree they embraced and kissed, from a distance the onlookers were pumping their fists and silently celebrating. A lot of them were crying, some were taking photos and videos using their mobile phones.
“So this is how it ends, right where they first met. This time he really waited for her…two years and she found him” a girl said and she started to cry. “Nope this is not an ending; this is a new beginning for them. But you are right, the book ends here and I am so glad that I was a witness to this last chapter” the guy beside her said. “If only the publishers could wait, man I bet more people would buy his book” another student commented. “Hey lets help him out, we can open a site and we shall be the ones to tell the story, we even have photos and videos, right? Let’s make it as a tribute for them, one true love that knows no boundaries” one suggested.
Under the tree Jeff and Nadine were smiling at each other as they embraced. “Where have you been all this time?” he asked her. “Oh somewhere far so you would miss me” she replied. “How did you know I was here?” he asked again. “I actually didn’t but I was tired of looking for you. Then I remembered our last talk, so here you are right where we last saw each other, I am happy that you waited for me” she said.
“How sure are you that I waited?” he asked. “You kissed me and you don’t have a ring on your finger” she said. “How sure are you I don’t have a ring?” he teased her and she pouted. “So you didn’t wait for me” she said softly. “I am sorry, it’s been two years Nadine, you left without saying goodbye” he told her.
“So why did you kiss me then?” she asked. “Because I want to” he answered. Nadine hit his chest repeatedly and looked at him. “Liar! Two years I longed for you, I came back here for you and this is how you surprise me?! Show me the ring, who is she? I want to see you wear it” she said and Jeff bowed his head. “I hid the ring inside one Tulip; I leave it there every day. Before I go home I come and take it” he said and Nadine immediately ran towards the flowers and stared at them.
“There are so many! Where is it and who is she?!” she asked in anger. Jeff pointed at one Tulip and Nadine plucked it out, she opened the flower and her eyes suddenly grew bigger. Jeff knelt down on one knee and Nadine was shaking all over. Inside the Tulip was a platinum ring with one large diamond stone perfectly cut to the form of a Tulip.
“When the book was published I had lots of money but I was not happy. I bought that ring hoping I could give it to you some day. I come here every morning to hide the ring inside one Tulip wishing that this day would arrive. If it didn’t I would come back and take it before I go home wishing that tomorrow you would come. Now you finally came back to me, I know this is sudden but for two years it was only you that I have been thinking of. I have become successful but still I am not happy and there is only one person who can make me happy and that is you Nadine. Two years apart, I know a lot have changed but my love for you has not wavered and I cannot say the same about you but I am going to ask anyway…”
“Nadine will you marry me?”
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Epilogue: Of Mud and Laces