THE PINES OF ROME
(based on the final scenes of “The Jungle Movie”)
“So you and Gerald…things going smoother than a milkshake with you two?” Helga asked her best friend Phoebe as they made their way down the street in a bright crisp Monday morning.
“It’s only been forty-two hours Helga” Phoebe replied.
“Criminey, hours, days..months, it all rushes past us doesn’t it?” Helga responded.
“Only if you don’t take it slow” said Phoebe.
The two took a left and headed past their usual corner, where they met up with Arnold and Gerald.
No sooner than Gerald and Phoebe had made eye contact were they eager to clutch one another’s hands and stroll down the remainder of the path to School together.
Arnold and Helga watched them go. Inspired, Arnold reached out for Helga’s hand and clutched it tight.
Sensations overwhelemed Helga as her love for her pint-sized prince continued to be reciprocated. In a series of seconds, she began projecting a clear and ideal future for the two of them.
However, those few seconds also gave way to more immediate concerns about the present…about what this long desired affection would do for her public image, her standing in the school, and how it would impact her own identity.
As much as Arnold loved her, she was still a damaged person. It would take a lot of time for him to mend her in a way that did’nt compromise who she was on the outside or the inside. She wanted the quality in her life to be made better, but not at the expense of drastically altering who she was at the center.
For now, Helga still needed to be Helga.
Arnold would understand, he always did.
To this end, she would indulge in a well intentioned game of ”hard to get”. A game she knew Arnold would relish playing.
“Hey, who said you could touch me?!”
She took back her hand and walked past Arnold, making sure he noticed the dreamy expression on her face afterwards. Arnold’s reassuring and understanding smile as he followed her gave her all the reason to be proud of what she’d just done.
He did’nt want her to change either. Not yet.
Phoebe was right. The hours and months to come needed to be taken slowly. The foundations of Rome, one of the most romantic of all cities, weren’t built in a day.