A/N: Dies Irae translates into Irate Days. Nothing on this chapter is fictional - except the names. That will come later.
Let me tell you about clichés. Let me tell you about teacher-student relationships clichés. It's the kind of thing you like to read about - in case you're in a similar situation - because, if nothing else, it gives you the fleeting sensation that something like that could in fact happen to you. You spend your school days pining after a young, apparently single, handsome teacher or professor. Your interest in him arises and you pointedly stare at his left hand searching for signs of a wedding ring and you find none. Because adultery is such a nasty thing, and you wouldn't want to read about it, let alone be in an adulterous relationship.
I too, would like the fascination - and, why not?, attraction - I feel for my professor to eventually lead to an uncomplicated, loving relationship in which I would finally feel unrestrained and unbearably beautiful in the eyes of someone. Even if that someone is more than twice my age, not particularly handsome and, yes, married. And adultery is such a nasty thing.
Life isn't perfect, and neither are relationships. I am known to go for the most complicated ones, as I feel drawn to the most incovenient people like a moth to a flame. I had promised myself not to fall for another professor, after my previous obsession had led to less than prolific results, including a deep plunge to the bowels of Hell - a whole school year suffering from anorexia, the over-glamourized disease erroneously designated by 'lifestyle'. And a depression, to top it off. It's still hard for me to talk about this, even though I finally put it behind my back during the holidays and now find myself happily threading the road to full recovery. However, those hard times outlined the person I am now; it was also during that year, my sophomore year in college, that I met him.
Thursday, September 14th, 2006
As I sat in the subway station waiting, my mind insisted on wandering and focusing on the year that had passed. The previous Monday I had been at the History Department all morning, choosing new subjects and schedules for the next semester, starting in October. Me and Marie, one of my closest friends in college, were staring intently at the new schedules, trying to make sense of something which had none. Everyone insisted on complicating the lives of us poor History students even further, I complained. She laughed and then diverted her eyes to the entrance.
"Hi, professor!" she greeted.
I looked at him as he passed us by and smiled. His gaze lingered on me for a second longer, as if making sure it was really me standing there. I couldn't blame him. When he had last seen me, I was sickeningly thin and pale, positively looking like I had some kind of fatal disease. Over the holidays I had regained my cheery personality as well as a lot of the weight I had lost. I looked healthy again. A downside? Two years ago I was 18 years old and I looked my age. Now I'm 20 and I'm constantly mistaken for a 16-year-old or worse. Not the best thing when you're trying to get the attention of your 49-year-old professor.
I had had his attention the previous semester. He taught Medieval History and I did well in his exams. Even though my battered soul had been too screwed up to nurture feelings for someone back then, my eyes twinkled and my heart warmed up when he handed me back my exam, bearing the highest mark of the whole class. 'Well done!' was written in red ink on one of the inner pages, for my eyes alone. He never did that to anyone else.
He's a man who likes to keep his distance from his students. Which is probably why he never compliments or admonishes anyone. He looks unusually shy for a man his age, but that could be just me. Maybe he puts up a façade just for us. I wouldn't know. I do know I found his thick grey hair, kept neatly short, his tanned skin, his dark eyes and neutral expression attractive right from the start. I was surprised to learn he had been born in 1957. He looked so much younger. Medieval-passionate, shy, lukewarm, somewhat geeky professor: that's Mack Harmon for you.
Marie turned her attention back to the schedules as I immersed myself in memories of him. Who, by the way, was standing right there talking to a colleague. I looked at the available subjects. Among the three he taught, there was only one I hadn't taken. The decision was made right there: I'd sign up for it.
I was lucky that day. Out of the four professors enrolling the students at the History Department, I got him. I sat beside him as he looked my name up on the list and made the necessary arrangements. When he was done, he looked at me smiling. "Okay Anna, you're ready to go."
I smiled sweetly back at him and said, in a cheery tone, "Thank you!", as if he had done me a huge favour, signing me up for my classes.
"Bye!" he replied, in an equally amused voice. "See you soon."
As I walked to the bus stop with Marie, I felt like an enormous cloud of pink cotton-candy. I had a crush. A professor crush. A what-the-hell-was-I-thinking crush. The cloud of pink cotton-candy turned an ugly shade of grey.
I got up as the train screeched to a halt in front of me. I hopped in, already missing him horribly. It had been three whole days since I had sat next to him, so close I could smell the freshness of his shirt. October had never seemed so far.
I'm sitting in my darkened room typing all this nonsense, in hopes of getting it out of my system and finally be allowed to rest and enjoy the few remaining days without classes. Deep down, though, I know there will be no rest without him. I concocted numerous silly plans to set in motion as soon as classes start, like e-mailing him intelligent questions about Medieval culture - in a world where I suddenly become a genious capable of discussing the various aspects of the Middle Ages with him as an equal -, and, of course, the little old accidental-but-not-so-much bump in the hallways. Oh, the glorious feeling of his hard body against mine, if only for a few moments! Now I definitely sound like an immature schoolgirl, to complement my equally youthful looks.
I shut my laptop with a soft click and looked sideways at the mirrored door. It reflected my image, broken in a myriad of pieces, as many as the rectangular mirrors imbedded in the smooth wooden surface. Lank, dark brown hair tumbled down my shoulders. A slightly short, uneven fringe fell in wispy strands onto serious, light brown eyes. A pale face with delicate features stared back at me. Pretty, yes, but not stunning. Probably enough for a normal man, or a boy my age. He was neither. Or perhaps he was just a regular person, and I was to blame for always placing my professors on a pedestal.
God, I was tired. And those two long weeks seemed to crawl by, as slowly as my crush grew into a full-blown obsession.
A/N: English is only my second language and I haven't really practiced after I left highschool. Which was three years ago. So please bear with me, andfeel free to tell me this chapter is horribly written :)