Copyright is held by the author.
“DON’T GO chasing shadows.” My inner voice was soft yet assertive. The heat from my morning coffee cup tested my pain threshold. It mirrored my internal turmoil at the moment. What am I doing? I thought to myself.
Looking outside my kitchen window the heavy rain and hint of fog reminded me of something. It reminded me that I was the weather at that moment, muddled and dreary with a mix of uncertainty.
Watching the rain create small puddles on my deck I look back 20 years. It’s college and young Liam walks into my class for the first time. He is nothing short of perfection with golden brown hair and icy blue eyes. His athletic presence commands any room. Quickly I morph into a secret stalker watching him everyday whenever the cosmos gives me a chance, fantasizing about being together even though it was impossible at the time. I am with someone and I’m a believer in fidelity and respect. However, I want Liam so badly it spurrs a primal urge never felt before. I feel alive. I should have felt this way for my boyfriend but didn’t. Am I horrible?
I remember a particular college pub night where both students and professors mingle cohesively. My conversations that night are an impressive balance of social gossip and academic dilemmas with my peers. Then I see Liam. My socialite skills abruptly falter and I am at a loss for words. I lose myself watching him approach my table. He sits next to me close enough that I smell a hint of cologne. With him he brings a sense of electricity that I feel around me. “How goes it?” he says with a deep calm voice.
I lose my breath but managed to reply, “I’m doing well thanks.” I try to give my flirty smile but I’m not sure if he receives it as he diverts his eyes from me for the rest of the night. Have I offended him in some way? Why won’t he look at me? Soon enough I surrender to the fact that he isn’t interested as I watch him for the rest of the night look, laugh and chatter with the other girls.
I end my walk down memory lane with the last day of class. Only half the number of students show up. Liam is not among them. I feel a little heartbroken that it’s the end of an affair that never happened. I’m moving and starting a new college next term. I’m the last to leave the classroom. As I answer a text from my boyfriend, a sweet familiar voice interrupts my concentration, “Can I speak to you teacher?”
I look up at him and it feels as if my legs are swooning before the rest of me. “Hi Liam, you missed the last class. I’ve got your exam, you did rather well.”
He replies softly, “Thank you teacher.”
It’s now or never if I’m going to make a move, “You know you could just call me Emily.” I look directly at him and wait for the rejection response.
Liam gazes at me, “Would that be Mrs. or Miss? I am hoping it’s Miss.”
Fireworks engulfs my insides as I now know there’s a glimmer of interest. “That would be Miss Emily King,” I say with an ear-to-ear grin.
Taking his exam from my hand he replies, “I’d like to further discuss this class and my marks with you if that’s all right. Would it be OK to give you my number and email and we keep in touch?”
Without hesitation I agree. Liam leans forward and gently hugs me with a power that feels as if the heavens moved. My body and mind are disconnected. Could this be happening?
The sound of the doorbell interrupted my thoughts. I ran to the foyer and took a quick peek at the hallway mirror. Apart from a few small wrinkles I was still attractive, well to me anyway. The effort of a new outfit and hairstyle was clearly meant for this moment. A doorway now stood before me — dividing me from my lover.
“Hello Miss Emily King.”
I responded, “You know I’m Mrs. Watson. Hug me Liam, I’ve missed you.”
We embraced each other knowing that our short time together had already started slipping. For the next three days my marriage and fidelity would be an afterthought.
Our affair over the years had been my constant shadow and worthy of chase.