It started quietly. I would listen carefully to him in class – he is my professor. He would go everywhere with his ideas – change my mind and extend my thoughts to new places. All without the aid of music, alcohol or those little white pills. Just watching him talk, for hours and hours was enough.

I sat at my desk as I watched him but gave no voice to my wish – “look at me”. I kept putting myself in sexy positions to distract him from his lecture. Later, when we were talking about this in bed, he said he didn’t notice – not at all – but wished he did. He only paid attention when I contributed to the discussion. “Indestructible makes a good point,” he would announce to the rest of the class. Yes! I went back to my room and pushed myself to orgasm with him on my mind.

Weeks later, while reading the paper alone at a coffee shop, I found an article I wanted to hear his take on. I sent it to him – and he soon responded thoughtfully. We started e-mailing openly. I could tell him anything – even half-thoughts he would help me work through: my ideas for the future, my desire to be Victorian, my loneliness and emptiness that I just couldn’t escape – even after years of failed attempts. He didn’t worry but made some suggestions and forwarded some articles. He called me a catalyst and told me all about him: his secret next steps in life, his love of technology, his comfortable but somehow unsatisfying marriage… his marriage… his marriage… oh no.

So, by meeting me at midnight one Friday night he was risking everything – his job, since I am his student, and his marriage. But, he said that those things did not make him strive. We kissed in front of strangers – risky but not. He told me I was beautiful and that I was like a jewel. He looked at me with eyes on fire. I loved it and I hated it.

Soon, we were talking and writing so many times a day that it seriously interfered with projects I was managing at work. The regular things didn’t matter as much – life seemed inspired. I had become too plain lately anyway – thinking too much about how my hair looked, how I was standing, how much I had in my wallet. He brought back something in me that was hiding and coaxed it out carefully. I felt like myself again. On his side - he said that I made him feel optimistic. I was glad to make him happy.

We had two nights together. I felt so close to him. “Don’t fall in love with me,” he warned on the first night after I had fallen asleep on his chest. We made love on the eve of my 29th birthday – and early the next morning. It felt good. I had been celibate for over two years.

Then I woke up – I really woke up. After I got to work that morning, I sent him a note asking him to leave me alone and listed the consequences if he tried to reach me. I never meant to be with a married man. It was wrong. I didn’t want to be a mistress. I didn’t want to be on the outskirts of society. I didn’t want to force my philosophies on anyone. I realized that it would only make me more lonely, in time.

Today, I am back in my plain life. It is friendly but shallow and tired. I get in my car and slowly drive to work – like everyone else. I sit at my desk. I stand at my window and look at the highway on the right and lake on the left while talking on the phone to distant places. I kid around with the girls. I meet with the IT guy. I impress my boss. I add the professor to one of my many escape fantasies to help me get through the day. Other than that, my hair is a little messy, but fine, I am standing straight, and I have a twenty, a ten and a five in my wallet. Oh well.