So, there’s this boy…
I don’t even know where to start with this one, so I’m going to start at the beginning, as that is usually the best place to start.
My first year at PRU, I had a great class of students. It took us a while to get used to each other, but once things gelled, we had a good semester. They were special, in part because they were my first class of students as an actual professor but, also, because they were pretty great.
There was one, though, that was just a little more. True story: I saw him as I was walking across campus the day before my classes met. Out of all those undergrads wandering around campus, I noticed him and thought, “Damn.” Then, the next day, he was in my class and I was muttering “Damn” for totally different reasons.
I can’t explain it other than sheer physical attraction – and this is so completely out of character for me that I’m at a loss. I certainly notice attractive men but there have been very few times in my life where I’ve had such an unequivocal response to someone. In fact, I might be hard pressed to think of another. The gentlemen in my life haven’t lured me across a crowded room; they were friends – or at the least, acquaintances – first and the attraction came later.
It was not easy having this young man in my class (it was hard to even look at him) but I managed. And then, through a series of fortuitous circumstances, he ended up participating in a research study of mine. Then he was involved in a conference presentation. Then we wrote a chapter together. This was over a number of years, so we were in touch but not in constant contact. We’d get together for whatever reasons, the air between us would crackle and we’d go our separate ways.
We always seemed this close to something happening but it never did. I was his professor; he was my student; I was older; he was younger; neither of us was going to make the first move so nothing ever happened. I didn’t know what he was thinking; maybe I was completely delusional. I thought about him – not obsessively, that’s just weird – but I always wondered.
Then he disappeared. I sent an email; he didn’t respond; and that was that. Fast forward four years.
About two weeks ago, I got an email from him. Talk about shocked! He was sorry for not staying in touch; he had thought of me often; he was going to be at my conference; did I want to get together while we were there? Um, did I? In all seriousness, I was delighted to hear from him. I mean, he had been a big part of my early life as an academic, and I always wondered what happened to him. For all I knew, he was married with three kids.
He is not married and he does not have kids. And he is just as hot as he was all those years ago. When I saw him, my stomach just dropped. It was like picking up where we left off all those years ago – and that pretty much describes the night. We had a few drinks; we had dinner; we went back to my suite – and we talked the entire time. There was just so much to catch up on, we never paused for breath. And the whole time, the air between us was practically crackling.
At some ungodly hour, he finally said he had to go and picked up his coat to leave. He offered a hug and I just looked at him. You could hear the pieces clicking in my head: Do I say anything? What would I say? Am I crazy? Ah, what the hell… So, I asked him why he emailed me. It had been four years, almost to the day; I really wanted to know what he was thinking when he emailed out of the blue. There was a little stammering, he managed to get out that he had missed me, and I just looked at him. Then something clicked in my head: now or never. “We have known each other for nine years. You are an adult. And you are not stupid.”
Reader, he kissed me. Or maybe I kissed him. I don’t know, I wasn’t taking notes. There was just a moment to think “Is this really going to happen?” before I was saying “Damn” for an entirely different reason. Oh, the attraction. This boy makes me weak-kneed. He’s an attractive guy, by general standards, but to me, he is just pure, unadulterated hotness. I was never really sure if the attraction was reciprocated but I can say with certainty now that it was, which makes me feel slightly less crazy after all these years. He indeed felt the attraction but he was as confused as I was as to what to do about it – turns out, it’s hard to shake the professor-student relationship. Turns out, you can.
Well, fairy tales might end there but real life never does. He left; we saw each other in passing a few times at the conference; and I could tell that he was running scared. I can’t say as I blamed him; I was a little shaken and I’m a big girl; he may be quite a bit older now but it has to be a little disconcerting to hook up with your former professor. Maybe I should have walked off into the sunset and left us both with a good memory. The last time I saw him, though, I couldn’t help myself: “You have one chance. You’ve had so many chances over the last nine years and you have blown every one. Don’t blow this.” He left that afternoon, with a hug in the foyer, and that was that.
Only it seems I gave him something to think about, because I got a text later that night to tell me he had thought long and hard about what I’d said and I was right: he had missed his chance too many times and he didn’t want to miss this one. He didn’t know what that meant but he wanted to figure it out.
I don’t know what this means, either. In all honesty, it’s a fling, a much-needed and well-deserved fling with a hot guy who thinks I’m beautiful (true!) and sexy (also true!). How could it be anything else? More importantly, why does it need to be anything else? This may be totally out of character for me but I’m certainly allowed to have some fun with a good-looking guy – sure, most people do this in the 20s but I’m beginning to think I’m living my life backwards. I don’t need to have a plan; I don’t need to have any expectations; I can just enjoy the moment.
Will I see him again? I’d like to think so. We’ve been texting since he left the conference (yes, I am obviously a 16-year-old girl) and it does appear that he would like to get together again. God knows, I’m not objecting! And, as pure serendipity would have it, after living across the country from me, he now lives two hours away.
A girl can dream. And I’ve got some good material for those dreams.