Tweed and Flannel and Satin

30 Ocak 2022 0 Yazar: admin

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As a literature professor, I knew all about the professor-and-precocious-coed trope. I’ve read versions of it by Philip Roth and Salman Rushdie and so many others. I also knew that it could be toxic in real life, because of the differences in power and life experience. I never intended to be That Guy. But there’s so much else I never expected either.

At age 37, I was in a new city, working at a new college, the only one in the entire country where I could find an open position for a literature professor. I was also coming off a breakup with my ex Laura of seven years. I had a lot of mixed feelings about, but neither of us were seriously considering getting back together. Moving across the country for this position had been the final straw, but it made us both see that an ending was long overdue.

I’m a bit on the short side. I keep up a habit of exercise, but I don’t work hard at it. With my well-groomed beard and my tweed jackets, I lean into the image of a college professor, in order to fit in amongst a faculty that’s mostly older and more qualified. While I haven’t been known to attract all that much attention from women (or anyone really), from a certain angle, in a certain light, I typically pass muster. I’ve been able to find myself in a relationship when I take the time to seek it out, but it doesn’t often find me. And right after Laura, I wasn’t inclined to make an effort right away.

As a mostly solitary gent, I took to making the most of campus cultural opportunities, to stay sociable and entertained. One night, I ended up at an art opening. That was where I met her.

I knew I had a type, but I didn’t know anyone could be so precisely my type until I saw her. It made my breath stop in my chest. The dark bob of her hair. The thick rims of her glasses. The full cheeks framing the pout of her mouth. The clothes she wore clearly weren’t designed for her curvy, slightly pudgy frame, but somehow they made her look good anyway. It’s like I had described my dreams to a police sketch artist, and then they’d found the suspect. It was almost uncanny. I had to caution myself that, whoever she was, she had a life of her own that had nothing to do with the inside of my head.

After both of us stared befuddled at a piece of inscrutable modern art, she struck up conversation. I learned that we both came for the wine and snack plate, and both felt out of place. Her name was Geni, which I later learned is spelled that way because it’s short for Genevieve. She was studying biology. From her intelligence and maturity and confidence, I assumed she was in the graduate program.

We exchanged numbers, but I thought nothing of it. I was single, but I was not of an age to chase headlong after romantic conquest anymore.

Those days, I spent my nights alone. Sometimes I let myself wallow in the loneliness. I would replay my recollections of sexual escapades of the past, like the times Laura and I tried to get pregnant. When we first decided to go for it, it had been a trill we had forbidden ourselves until then. We never did conceive, but the trying was never the problem between us. The apartment I rented still had stacks of boxes that I hadn’t unpacked, ephemera from that relationship. I wasn’t yet ready to unpack and go through it all.

Sometimes I would linger on the fleeting flings of my undergrad years. Like the young woman I once had a slightly buzzed encounter with, in the back room at a frat party, and then never saw again. What I recalled of that night was mostly isolated sensory details. The smooth, cool feeling of her hair against my face. The warm, plump skin of her hip where I gripped it. The blissful moment of my release. Her aching gasp in my ear as her body strained towards its own precipice. The breaths we shared as we recovered, before our minds cleared and reality returned. I couldn’t recall her name or what we had said to each other to get to that point. I had cautiously asked about her in the days afterward, but no one knew anything.

Even filtered through my fragmented memory and dulled by the years since, the extraordinary intensity of that night loomed larger in my mind than any of the thousands of times Laura and I had sex. I fantasized about recognizing her in the street, striking up a conversation, rekindling what we had that one night. I wondered who she was, and what her life was like today.

One night, Geni interrupted my self-pity and masturbation with a text, just striking up conversation. I had little interest in conversing over text, and suggested we talk in person. The next night, we met at a cafe off campus, where they have live jazz. I thought it would be neutral territory, away from the curiosities of our respective colleagues. We sat in the back, and stayed well after the music finished. We talked about art and music and literature and biology and everything but ourselves. Even so, I learned a lot about her, and found myself charmed and intrigued at every turn. Something about her made her izmir escort bayan so easy to get to know.

As I made my way home late that night, my face was sore from smiling and laughing so much. Geni didn’t naturally smile or laugh as easily, so it felt like a victory when she did. I was giddily dancing on my feet, but I still told myself that it was just a friendship. In her world, I might be one of many, and there were plenty of friendships I cultivated without any ulterior motives. Yet part of me felt a magnetic pull towards her, a physical comfort with being close to her, that I couldn’t entirely explain away. I wished I had kissed her, but I also didn’t want to get ahead of myself.

I couldn’t resist inviting her to a movie–a special screening of a silent film with live accompaniment–and we decided to have dinner together beforehand. We didn’t call it date. But even just sitting next to her in the dark felt electric. It was hard not to firm up in my pants every time our arms brushed on the armrest, and I was starting to think she welcomed that contact too.

We talked more afterwards, I learned that she was an undergrad, only 18 years old. I was astonished, and conflicted. It did put me off a bit, but I still felt that instant connection to her. It didn’t change who she was, and it was all the more impressive that she was so mature at her age.

There came a moment where our paths home would part, and I could tell she was waiting for me to kiss her. I sighed, and said I shouldn’t, not for lack of wanting. That it wouldn’t be right for a professor and a student. She declared that, as a biology major, she didn’t have to take my class, and could promise she never would. I hesitated, but held my ground, and she said goodnight with a smirk. Even so, I was sad to see her walk away. I thought talking myself out of it would make me want her less, but quite the opposite.

I worried that my rejection of her had ruined everything. So it was with mixed relief that I saw her text a few nights later, inviting me over. It was bold of her to extend the invitation, and I assumed she wouldn’t take that chance more than once. Refuse her now, and I might not get to see her again. I found that surprisingly hard to accept.

I told myself I’d go see her, but maybe we could get back on friendly terms from now on. Yet my mind kept returning to the electric feeling of her touch. I kept imagining that moment when she leaned up for me to kiss her, and wondering how it would have felt if it played out the other way. Her interest in me was inexplicable, probably a fad that would pass soon enough. Part of me wondered what harm there would be in entertaining it while I could.

Judging by the address, she living in a cheap off-campus studio apartment. That was good, because I didn’t want to be seen with her by other undergrads, potentially undergrads in my class. They could get the wrong idea.

Her apartment was strung up with Christmas lights in an orange and purple Halloween pattern. The walls were decorated with things she was passionate about, her favorite movies, books, works of art, biological charts, the periodic table. Sure, superficially it was the decor of a broke college student, but to be in that room was to know her completely. I took it all in.

She supplied the wine that night, and the Chinese carry-out. How an 18 year old got wine was none of my business, the important thing was that I wasn’t involved. It was hardly romantic, but that placated the part of me that didn’t want it to be.

We cuddled up together on her futon to watch a movie on her laptop. I’d heard of “Netflix and chill”, but it was a new experience for me. The pretext was brief. I couldn’t keep my hands off her, and she couldn’t keep her lips off mine, and we were only sitting a few feet from her bed anyway.

Even if I didn’t expect this to last, I knew I had to make it count. She didn’t want to release me from her embrace at first, but I kissed my way down her curvy frame, from the soft mounds of her breasts, to the creases at her waist. I found the hair around her cleft soaked through, her lips parted for my tongue. She was quick to arouse and quick to satisfy, but that didn’t diminish the intensity of it. She grabbed the hair on the back of my head, pulling me tight to her crotch as she pushed her hips up at my mouth, until with a cry, her strength gave out. I had a finger inside her when she came, and felt her sex undulate around it.

I rolled on a condom and joined her on the bed, our limbs intertwining again, our mouths hungry for each other. I could taste the sweetness and garlic of our dinner on her lips, and I didn’t mind at all. I had a passing thought that Geni was hardly half my age, that it still wasn’t too late to stop. The voice of reason was quickly silenced. I still made the excuse that this whim of hers would be brief, with no harm done–physically or emotionally.

I slipped slowly, tenderly izmir escort into her. As we moved against each other, she answered every thrust with a gasp, a moan, a pull upon my flesh. I wasn’t going to last, but neither was she. I held out just long enough to bring her to orgasm again, but when I felt it from within her, it was too much to resist.

In that moment, I finally realized who she most reminded me of: that mysterious girl from the frat party all those years ago. But it wasn’t like I was just reliving that memory through her. I already knew Geni so much better than that random hook-up in the dark, and I felt so much more for her. Geni was decidedly her own distinct person, charming and competent. That association was just the missing piece that clicked into place, explaining why I was drawn to her in the first place.

When our passions cooled, I sat up and disposed of the filled condom. A part of me wished I could have felt that directly, flesh to flesh.

“For future reference, are you on the pill?” I asked. I knew from experience that it was better to ask it this way, when there was no pressure, no passions in the way.

“I like how you assume this is happening again.”

“Sorry.” I shrugged.

“No, I said I like that, and I meant it.” She paused. I blushed. “Anyway, no. It…doesn’t work on me.”

“Hm. Sounds like there’s a story there?” I laid back down beside her, in her cramped narrow bed, trying to catch her eye. There was enough room in that bed for a beast with two backs, but not for two people to sleep without touching.

“Yeah.” For a second, I worried that I was prying at something sensitive. “I got pregnant the first time. There was a friend I’d had a crush on for a long time, and then he was going away, and it was like now or never, so I made my move. We were both virgins, we were both legal, and I had been on the pill for years already, so we didn’t think there was any reason to hold anything back. Since I didn’t know I could get pregnant despite the pill, it took me a while to realize that I was. When my dad found out, I worried he was going to be angry or whatever, but he was just disappointed. He said he shouldn’t be surprised, given what happened to my mother.”

I wondered what the story there was, but I didn’t dare interrupt.

“My dad helped me get to a clinic and end the pregnancy…but in the meantime, there was no point taking the pill. And then, once I knew it had failed me on the very first try, I didn’t want to go back on it. It’s not worth the side effects, if it’s not even going to work.”

“Makes sense. This just now wasn’t your second time ever…was it?” I asked.

She laughed a little. “No no no. I’ve been careful since, but I have hooked up a few times. However, you are the first guy to go down on me, so that honor is all yours.”

Our encounter together made me feel young and virile again. I know how that sounds, but that’s the truth. I knew I should stop seeing her, but I couldn’t stop myself, and her enthusiasm for it certainly didn’t help.

In the days to come, seeing each other became a regular thing. Every time we were together, I remembered what she had told me about her first time, about how she wasn’t on the pill now. I knew any slip-up could be risky. A broken condom, or a game of “just the tip”, and it could be enough to get her pregnant. It wouldn’t be fair to put her through another abortion. At the same time, it turned me on, knowing just how vibrant and fertile she was.

One time, after we had sex, she asked me if I had ever wanted kids.

“Is this…a present concern?” I asked carefully.

“No. Just curious,” she said. Though there was a mischievous gleam in her eye, hinting that it was also something more.

I told her, “Yes, I hope to have kids, given the right situation. The last relationship I was in, we both wanted them, but it just never happened. Looking back now, it’s probably for the best that we never succeeded. But yeah, someday. And I know someday better not be too far off, at this point. What about you?”

“So…I don’t regret terminating the pregnancy. I mean, I’m sure I could have kept it, I could have made it work. I know my parents would have helped me through it. I wouldn’t be here with you, for one thing. But I do daydream about it sometimes. That first time was like eight months ago, so I’d be towards the end of the pregnancy by now, and my life would be so different. So I’m not against it. I figure, given my situation, it’s going to happen sooner or later, that’s just inevitable. When it does, I’m emotionally prepared for it.”

“That’s a bold claim for someone your age,” I said, even though I didn’t like highlighting the gulf between us.

She shrugged a little. “Sure, there are other things I want to do with my life, but they’re not mutually exclusive, and it would bring me a lot of joy. It will, I should say.”

I wasn’t so sure that was wise, but I escort izmir knew better than to be too proscriptive with her. I remembered taking risks at her age, not always even stopping to ask these questions. My life too could have taken a very different course.

Knowing her attitude towards having kids didn’t help with that instinct telling me to slip into her unprotected, to claim her as my own and sow her with my seed. It would be so easy, and she wouldn’t even be unwilling. But that made it all the more important for me to be careful with her. I had to be the clear-headed, responsible one, if either of us was going to be.

Things between us moved extraordinarily fast, at least for my frame of reference. Geni, on the other hand, had no frame of reference, and saw no reason to hold back. It wasn’t long before we were sleeping together all the time, sometimes at her place, sometimes as mine. We went through a lot of condoms, and I got to introduce her to a lot of firsts. Some she liked, some she was glad to check off.

The first time she said she loved me, I was a bit startled at first. I wondered if she really had the experience to even know what love is. Did she just think she was expected to say it? Did she think this thing between us was love, just because she had no exposure to other possibilities? This was her first real relationship, so it was bound to be explosive, but I still expected it to fizzle out someday soon.

But I didn’t want to be the kind of guy who withheld his affections from her. Besides, I realized I did love her, even by my jaded standards of love. Even more importantly, I wanted her to feel loved. I knew I had a responsibility to make her first relationship a caring, rewarding one. So I told her I loved her too. Once the words came out, it wasn’t hard to repeat them, and to feel them more and more each time.

In June, just before summer break, we celebrated Geni’s 19th birthday. We had a small gathering at my place, of people who had come to know about us and were cool with it. I felt bad that it couldn’t be the raucous rager that I thought she deserved, but I couldn’t be involved in giving alcohol to people who were underage. (Not that any of them had trouble getting it.) Plus I was still wary of other undergrads finding out about us. Geni said she liked small parties better anyway.

I genuinely didn’t know where our relationship was headed. If we were still together when she graduated, then it wouldn’t need to be so fraught and secretive anymore, but that was years away, and it felt very presumptuous to think we’d ever reach that goalpost. In the short term, I figured we might as well continue and see where it led, as long as we were making each other happy. I didn’t get the sense that Geni had any grand intentions for us either. Though there were moments where I felt like, as head over heels for her as I was, she was falling even harder. I worried sometimes that at the end of her first love, there’d be a hard fall.

Summer break came, and Geni stayed on campus to work a summer job. With school out, we could be a little less guarded about where we went together. With both of us working day jobs, it started to feel more normal, more like a relationship of equals in the same stage of life.

Geni suggested we move in together. Both of our leases were set to expire just before the start of fall semester. By then we were practically cohabiting anyway. Maybe I ought to have resisted the idea, but spending so many nights in her cramped bed was starting to take a toll on my back.

I found us a place big enough for two, somewhere she would have a room of her own if she needed a break from me. I would be the only one on the lease, so that she would be free to leave. I wanted to avoid doing anything to unnecessarily tie her down. I still felt like a break-up was coming any day now. This was far too good to last.

As the move-in day approached, I had to finally start going through the things that I’d left boxed up since the break-up with Laura. A lot of it was crap that I wouldn’t have taken with me if I’d stopped to think about it, but she had wanted everything of mine out, and she just piled anything that wasn’t hers into boxes.

In one box, I found a letter I didn’t remember ever seeing before. It looked old and dry, and the flap of the envelope was unsealed. I couldn’t tell if it had been opened before or not. It was from someone called Meredith Spring.

Dear John,

You might remember me from the party at Kappa Phi. I’m writing to tell you that somewhere out there, you have a daughter. That’s all I can say, and that’s all I figure I owe you.



I instantly knew what she was referring to, though I couldn’t be sure if I remembered the name Meredith, or if my memory was eager to slot something into that blank space where a name should be. At first, I didn’t know how much to trust Meredith’s claim. It was too much of a shock to take in at face value. How did she find me? How did she know I was the father? What if this was one big joke? I had never seen this daughter I allegedly had, never heard any suggestion of her before. It was hard for me to accept that a human being I helped create could exist, without me knowing about her at all.

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