Introduction to Shakespeare teacher Eric Daniels was seated on the fourth floor of the University of Minnesota's library. When he wasn't teaching, he spent all of his free time at the third table near the windows over looking the football field feverishly working on his novel. He had always wanted to write a novel, something reminiscent of classic 16th century literature. He knew how risky it would be to publish such a novel, forget about the themes of love, justice, and jealousy. Today's reader wanted sex, drugs, and the illusion of freedom. Freedom, what a joke. He knows all too well that there is no such thing as freedom. He certainly wasn't free, not from his past, not from others' expectations, but worst of all, he wasn't free from her. He had never told anyone that he wanted to write a novel, and yet she knew. Every night she came to him in his dreams and encouraged his passion. Every morning he awoke to a tear soaked pillow.
He tried to get over her, he quit his job and moved back to Minnesota the day after he told Math the truth. He told himself that he was making the right choice, that his leaving was in her best interest. He told himself that what they had, what they felt, wasn't love, but the defense mechanisms of two wounded souls. The weight of the engagement ring he'd kept in his left pants pocket since the day after he took her to the ocean told him otherwise. He took a deep sigh as he took the ring box out of his pocket and nervously tossed it between his hands. If he was free from her, he wouldn't have flown back on the day of her high school graduation, sat in the back row waiting for her to sense his presence, waiting for her to run into his arms with the same bright smile she always gave him. Instead he was greeted by the sight of the woman he loved, the only woman he would ever love, in the arms of another. He shouldn't have been surprised, after all he told her that she should be with Jones.
Fate, now that was something he could write about, cruel, cruel fate. Fate had been cruel to him four years ago when he peeked outside his class room to see her walking by. When he first saw her, he couldn't believe his eyes, he thought he was dreaming again. She looked the same, only older and more mature. Her long wavy blonde hair still partially hidden under a knit cap. Without thinking he called out to her. He watched as she turned towards his voice with a confused, yet hopeful look on her face. He quickly darted back into his classroom. What an idiot he was, it was the first day of school and she was in a new state, nobody knew her name, so of course she was confused. But hopeful? Did she recognize his voice? Was it possible that after all these years she still remembered him, still missed him? He laughed as he thought back to that day. Irony, that's something else he could write a whole book about. It was ironic how much he missed her, even though she was not only in the same state, the same town, but the same school. His heart ached for her every time she absent absentmindedly walked past him in the halls. Realizing that he wasn't going to get any more work done today, he started to pack up his laptop. Off in the distance he heard cheering. Graduation, she was graduating with a bachelor of science degree in child psychology. After tonight, she would be gone, probably out of his life for good, not that she had been in his life the last six years, still seeing her on campus counted for something. He stopped what he was doing and tried to shake the thoughts from his head, he literally shook his head trying to rid his thoughts of her. Well, that's not entirely true, he turned his head to the right and suddenly felt as if a magnet was directing his movements. Against his will his head turned down towards the football field. He saw the graduating class off to the right waiting to begin their commencement ceremony. He faintly heard Pomp & Circumstance begin as the students started to make their way towards the bleachers. He tried to turn away, tried to close his eyes and will away the tears, instead his eyes were fixated as one figure stood still as the others moved around her. She tilted her head up and just for a second he could swear that she was looking right at him.