Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Three years of undergrad classes were approaching THE END. After the last day of class, we had final exams. Then we would go on our own journeys, never to meet again as a class of friends.
No one discussed the end - professors or students. A month before the last day, I was apprehending the impending separation in my bones. I had been the oldest student by far in the class, had initially (unnecessarily) feared rejection and was gratified how the other students did not even think of my age as an issue. There was acceptance. There was warmth in general. I became quite close to some of my classmates over three years of happiness and heartaches.
We started with sixteen girls and eight boys in our Physics Honors class. Memories were definitely created. Some of us would meet again, but never would all of us be together after our final exams. Quite a few of our mates were the quiet types, some even kept to themselves. Jahar named them "Noble Elements" (members of the Periodic Table that did not interact with others).
My heart ached that the noble ones and the noisy ones would never be a unit again. It seemed as if a person would die and I'd never meet him or her. I was miserable enough not to discuss the end with anyone.
Most of us were not from affluent families. I could not afford to have a grand get-together. What COULD I do?
There were flowers in our garden at home. Our class had also blossomed to thirty odd students over the three years. I decided to snip thirty flowers, write individual notes to each of my friends and wrap the short message around the (long enough) stem of each flower.
The last week of class arrived. The last day came. I was late to class, cutting the flowers, tying the messages and bundling them up in a discrete bouquet. I wrote the messages over days, and put some thought on what I wanted to say to each class friend.
I handed out the flowers to my classmates between two final lectures. Some of them smiled, some had tears in their eyes. Of course, they were all surprised.
Like a prize idiot, I did not collect the contact information of the "Noble Elements" and I've lost touch with them forever. Debashis nick-named one of our quiet classmates "Stereo". I miss Stereo dearly.
One of my classmates and I later married. I am surprised at the time of writing this that she is upset with the note I handed her. Neither she nor I remember what my message was, but she holds on to the emotion of being upset forty plus years ago.
Today’s note to our younger friend, Tina:
One minute ago I posted a write up called Finally Flowers on a blog I started in 2022:
Tina: What on EARTH did the note to her say? I am left in suspense.
Note to Tina: I can’t recall. The missus just said she should have trashed the flower in a waste basket, right then, right in front of me.
What I find (extremely) amusing is that although the source of the emotion has escaped our memories, the emotion is still very much captive (in one memory system).