The third college year was about to end. We had only to pass the final exams.
Being an eternal rebel, I was skipping classes a lot during the school year. One of the classes I almost never went to the second semester was called… oh, I don’t even remember what it was named… I know that one of the words making up the class title was Electronics.
You can imagine it was not one of my favorite classes. The teacher had a rule that no student could ever break during his many years of teaching; whenever someone would skip his class more than three times during an entire semester, they were not allowed to come for the final summer exams anymore and their exam would be postponed for the fall season.
That year, I was this type of a student. I had no right to enter the examination room, and for this reason I didn’t study, not even for five minutes. In fact, I had no intention to go to college that day.
Being a passionate reader, the day before the exam found me with a book next to me. While wondering in the silence of my home what I should do the following day, thinking that I would be better off starting to study for the fall exam, the phone’s ringer almost scared me.
A classmate and friend was calling to ask me to come to the college the next following day because the class decided to have a party after the exam would end. I politely refused but after four or five other friends called me for the same reason, I couldn’t find any more excuses and had to accept finally.
The Sun’s rays crossing through my window succeeded to make my eyes open early the next morning; too early according to my taste. No intention of waking up could be felt inside my brain. Still, I knew I promised to go, and a promise can’t be broken. My sleeping mood didn’t leave me for a long time; not after washing my eyes, not after properly dressing, and not even after drinking a large cup of coffee.
A promise is a promise, therefore even with my grumpy mood, I closed the door behind me while the high heels I was wearing that day, took my legs to the elevator.
First sign… the elevator was not functioning, so nine floors had to be seen, step by step, down to the ground level.
The moment my hands opened the door to the outside of the building, a cat appeared in front of my eyes; a beautiful huge black cat. It looked directly into my eyes and while I made my first step out of the building, the beautiful black meowing being, crossed my path.
The second sign… was just given to me. I heard a lot about superstitions all my life; I saw and knew so many people practically being afraid of them. And even if for me a black cat was always bringing good luck, still… I was wondering what luck could be brought to me that day, keeping in mind I was not allowed to enter the classroom exam.
Wondering about this while walking towards the bus station, I suddenly started to laugh aloud. I knew people on the street were looking at me also wondering, but I couldn’t stop myself; a sudden revelation was given to me. It was a beautiful sunny Friday.
The third sign… superstitious people always said that Fridays brings bad luck. Fridays were always bringing me good luck but still… I was wondering… what luck could that day bring, when I didn’t even open the covers of my Electronics manual book? Do you somehow imagine that this made me laugh so loudly while almost running after a bus? No way… I needed more than three signs to laugh like this.
The fourth sign… Yes, this was the one that added to the others, and really made me laugh. It was year 1988, on the 13th day of May. 13th… a number that always played an important role in my life; my luckiest lucky number. Still… being a human being and therefore possessing a rational brain side that was completely adapted for doubting… I was still wondering how my favorite number could help me when it was obvious that not even a miracle could change my reality; I was not allowed to take the exam.
One hour later while now at college, my friends started the exam while I somehow made it into the classroom hanging out in the last row, waiting for all of them to finish. Several moments later, the teacher looked directly at me and asked: “You, there… did you receive your subject for the exam?”
“No, but…” I only had the time to answer while the teacher already added.
“Come here, pick a subject. Who let you sit there so relaxed?” he yelled.
That moment I was not very sure how to react and what to reply. I knew he had the notebook where the list of forbidden students was. It was certain that he didn’t know my name since he asked me to pick a subject. It was even more obvious to me that even if I picked one, my brain could not solve anything since I had no idea what that Electronics class was about.
Suddenly, my high heels started to walk in his direction and arriving at his desk after some seconds, my hand picked a subject. I didn’t look at the paper until the teacher asked for the subject’s number so he could write it down. I turned it over to read the number, and while I barely stopped myself from laughing again I said, “Subject 13, teacher.”
“Good, noted. Go back to your seat now and start to solve it.”
My brain was again working at high speed, and having a moment of inspiration I replied as I was returning the paper back to him at the same time, “Teacher, with all due respect, I have to give you back this paper and leave the exam”.
Even now, I remember his eyes when he raised his head from his books. The surprise could be read on his face. “Why do you have to leave? Don’t you know the subject?” he asked accompanying his voice with a certain amount of curiosity.
“I know the subject,” I said “but my brain was suddenly emptied. I was raised to be superstitious, and when I saw the paper’s number, I forgot everything. It’s bad luck, everyone knows”.
I have to admit that this was one of the few lies that I said in all my life. And even if I was and I am completely against lies, I still believe that it was a moment of inspiration, I was never ashamed for telling that lie and I am still smiling to this day thinking of that weird day filled with signs.
His almost cruel figure was suddenly melting. Anyone could see the change; of course all my classmates and friends were listening to our little talk. This teacher was well known for never exchanging so many words with a student; more than this, no student would ever push his luck to look straight into his eyes.
His face was melting right near me and in his eyes I could see a spark of kindness.
“Superstitions you say? Bad luck? Go back to your seat and try to solve the subject. There is no bad luck in this world. Trust me” his changed voice could be heard; at the same time I had the feeling that his protective hand touched my shoulder, but I was never sure if it had or not, or if it was only my imagination. He never touched a student until then… at least so it was said.
That was the fifth, and last sign received that day. A few minutes after, I was sitting staring at that paper. There were three subjects; the first one included for sure the name “triode”, the second I never recalled what it was about and the last one was a problem to solve – at least it was looking like a problem to me.
The friend sitting on my left side murmured something looking at my paper. Having the feeling that I heard the word “triode”, I instantly supposed it belonged to the answer for the first subject, so I noted it down, and that was all.
After about a half an hour, the teacher called me to come up and explain the subjects. I went there supposing that he will start to torment me as he was usually doing with everyone on exam day.
The moment I came near his desk, he reached his hand towards me like he was waiting for something. Supposing that he was asking for my papers where I was working out the formulas to solve the subjects, I handed them over to him.
Without asking me anything, but only smiling looking to my papers, I heard his voice.
“Student, answer me one question only” and after a short pause, short enough to make my heart beat faster, he continued smiling “Is a ‘B’ enough for you?”
Have you ever seen a snail close-up? If you have, do you remember its eyes? Well… in the exact way I had the feeling my eyes were changing their shape. My legs were suddenly struggling to keep my body from falling down. From what we heard about him, the maximum grade he ever gave to a student was exactly a ‘B’. Not being sure if it was a joke and being almost sure I will fail the exam, I whispered “Yes, teacher, I suppose it is.”
Still smiling he gave me back my test results, where I could see with my own eyes the materialized miracle… a big, huge, immense ‘B’ grade.
That was the first time in my life when I realized miracles are possible.
And since that moment… I am always wondering… What is, in fact, a miracle?