i often accuse myself of falling in love too quickly, too easily. when i see a tall man on the street, in a button-down shirt, and if he has neat blonde hair especially, my heart is already lost to him. i imagine our lives together; our medium brunette children in a mixture of your colour and mine, the heart-shaped structures of their faces, their preppy dress and school uniforms and the penthouse we will live happily in. but it is not just these men that i find myself falling in love with. i am able to fall in love with most men, for any one reason. should he be someone traditionally forbidden to me, even better. i have dated ex teachers of mine, fantasized about other womens' husbands and fathers i see playing with their children in the park.
i have lost my heart currently to my professor.
it does not help that he teaches my favourite subject - english. an essay writing class specifically, and i imagine when he looks at me there is a special sparkle reserved in his eyes, that gives way to wonder of me and what makes me tick. when he criticised my writing the other day i stopped after class to challenge him on it, not because i was fighting for a grade - the assignment was not counted for points - but to distinguish myself, to show him that i may be an equal, to show him that if he'd like, he may love me, and i am not afraid to give him reason or means to.
when he calls my name on the roll sheet he pauses. he pauses after every one, but it is distinct when i walk into class, he does not have to say my name or look for me to know that i have already been there. he always finds a new way to converse, or a new observation to make, when he says my name. last week he had listened to part of my conversation with a peer before class - "do you really have a roommate named nikita?" he asked. "yes," i replied, looking directly into his eyes, though with reservation in my speech. i always heighten my reservation with him. it leaves him to want more from me. i know he longs to hear more.
there are other girls in the class, in fact, it is predominantly girls, a ratio of 3:1. two others of them, i do not know his type, but i would guess would be girls he may find beautiful. one does not wear much makeup, but she is classic, pleasant faced with a soft smile that even i admire. the other is tall, my weakness, i am not tall, if i had a half of foot more of height i don't know that i should ever be in want of anything else. she has long hair, longer than mine, and hers is real. he does not know mine is not. maybe he sees sometimes that it is imperfect, maybe this charms him for a reason he can't understand.
there are two others, they are not particularly beautiful, in fact one is plain. maybe he likes this? but she seems boyish. i imagine him to be a man who wants a woman. i am the most womanly in our class. the other girl, she talks much, and she has much to say, and he sees that all of it is good. she is smaller than i even, but mousy, and round. these things in themselves do not prevent her from being beautiful, but there is something quaint about her and her manner. there is something stately about mine.
the two girls i have mentioned most previously do the most talking.
he appreciates and expects their participation, their contributions help the class along. it is only an hour and a quarter but he gripes at the beginning of class, and by the end he has lost the time and must rush.
he gave back my paper today, calling my name first. because i was the last to turn in my essay last week? or because mine was given the most thought? because putting my name on the top of the pile reminds him of me and he is given our class to look forward to? i both fancy and doubt this the most.
"yes!" he wrote on my confession of being a beauty queen, and aspiration to eventually be the president. as if he longs for nothing more than for me to be president, so that he may look at me during my inauguration and know he has had me. maybe he knows that this will be impossible, but maybe he will love me more deeply if i am a powerful woman.
more powerful than just holding his heart, if it is possible for someone to have more power than to hold your heart. when someone holds my heart they control everything, if only for a while. he has my heart, but not all of it. i will resolve to give him all of it when he proves to me that i have some of his.
i had hoped he would write 'you are beautiful' on my paper. that i am beautiful and smart, like i asserted. i was afraid that he would write that i am conceited, naive, vain.
but at the end of my paper he wrote 'good.' 'nikita,' he started, and i love it when he uses my name, as he loves to use my name. 'your sentences are much clearer. and i see that as a good thing' he refers to the conversation we had last week in which i challenged him that tolstoy writes beautifully, far more so than hemingway. he said he also likes faulkner, who writes long, but that simpler is often easier.
does he really believe simpler is easier? isn't part of my charm to him that i am not?
if only he had told me i was beautiful. but anyway it would be inappropriate, and too soon, we have only known each other for three weeks and seen each other five times in that frame. he would put so much at stake by confessing my beauty, but i know he sees it. he singles me out more often than not. he sees that i am special, that i am beautiful. i see that he sees these things.
but if he had wrote that to me, i would have waited for all the others to leave. i would have sat on the edge of his desk, touched his face, and kissed him lightly but tenderly, where there was hair or where there was not, it would have made no difference. i would have grinned playfully, like all of the fun being had was my own. i would've stared at him deeply, without saying a thing, and left. the next time i saw him i would have expected nothing, but i would have feared for the worst.
as he has shown me already, i'm sure the best would have come. i am sure he is capable of less than benevolence, i have only seen him in his gingham shirts and jeans that fit the way a comfortable older man likes to wear them, sometimes when he walks behind me i pull my chair out after he has passed and glance in the way of his shoes. nikes. i sense some of that youth when he expresses his wanderlust, of traveled many places but wanting to live in oakland - oakland, of all places, when he lives in brooklyn now. we will not be married, despite our romance. one day he will leave brooklyn, to oakland, and i will not go with him, though i may visit when i am in california, or just because i have a weekend off. we will not be married but for now i have lost part of my heart to him. i will take part of his with me, and then we will give each others' affections back, up, away.
we will not be married and we will go on with our lives. but for now, i have fallen in love with him.
"nikita c*****," he called my name when handing back my paper. "nikita b c*****," he remembered. "i'm right here." i said. what did you write?