I have been teaching for the last seven years. It’s the kind of subject that students actually enjoy taking, which helps, but I don’t need them to want to be here. They are lucky enough to have been accepted by my school in the first place — yes, you have heard of it, and yes, it is that good. Most of the students who come in the first day are so overwhelmed with the ambiance, the architecture, the overall feeling of “you’ve finally made it” that they aren’t concerned with what class they’re going to. It’s cute, in a way, and even though freshmen are no one’s favorite group, I do like seeing the reverent look on their faces for the first few weeks. And that wide-eyed appreciation looks better on no one than an 18-year-old brunette with perfect breasts and a tight sweater.
The first time she walked into my classroom, I knew that I could have her. It’s the kind of thing that you develop a sense for, an awareness about the way women look at you when they are so young and still not quite masters at obscuring their intentions. I found her honest interest in me adorable, and her fumbling little attempts to seduce me the first day or so of class to be as endearing as they were effective. The truth was, she didn’t need to do anything to get me. She didn’t need to find excuses to touch me, or to be around me, or to see me after class. She could have never spoken to me and still held me just as captivated. By the time I kissed her in my office last week, I knew that I had waited three weeks too many. I could tell that she had been thinking about me every day, torturing herself with questions about whether or not I would do anything.
I know that students like me. I have seen the things written about me online, and heard the way they will sometimes talk to each other while walking into my class. I’ve seen the looks, from women and men. But no student has ever grabbed my attention the way she has, made me feel as desperate for contact or for something that I knew I was not supposed to have. Though I am single and have no moral qualms about sleeping with anyone, the ethics of the matter is a different game. If anyone found out, I would lose my job. She would be put in severe jeopardy. My reputation would be ruined and, in many ways, so would hers. But I feel confident in knowing her — and knowing the way she behaves — that it would never be an issue. She stands to lose a lot if she reveals our relationship, and though I have always played it safe when it came to my students, it’s an exception I’m willing to make.
And it’s thrilling. It’s the kind of thing that makes you leap out of bed for work every morning, eager for the moment when you’ll be able to steal an overly long glance or brush hands just lightly enough that no one will know it was intentional. It makes you think about how to plan out your day (and night) just so, so that you will be able to find a place to do all of the things you want to do. She lives in a dorm, of course, so even extricating her from the building in the evening is a difficult thing. She knows we can’t be seen, so we’ve developed a little routine that we go through to throw anyone who might be around her completely off the trail. There are many other places I would love to have her, and there would be something nice about being public with the whole thing, but we’re lying to ourselves if we say that sneaking around isn’t half the fun.
I don’t love her, and I won’t stay with her forever. Technically, we’re not even together now. But I’m in my mid-30s, and looking to start a family soon. She is 18, and has a whole lifetime’s worth of experience to get to before she could be with someone like me. This will be the fun that it is for a while, and I would never even want it to develop into something more complicated. It’s only been a week and I can already feel the novelty — and the danger — starting to wick away. Her big doe eyes that looked so endlessly curious on her first day of class already seem to know me, if only a little bit. And I don’t want her to ever feel that she knows me, because she won’t. Even if she doesn’t yet realize it, we are only attracted to the idea of each other, and sometimes, that has to be enough.