All the girls liked him. He was physically attractive, sure, but what really got to them was his mind and his power. He was a professor, young compared to his colleagues, just 30 when he started his new job at my college. It was my first semester too and our mutual newness is what first brought us together. We became instant friends, sharing everything from lunches to our deepest secrets. I discovered he was in an unhappy marriage but could not leave because of his daughter. She was six. The same age he was when his parents divorced. But he couldn't do it because he promised, himself and his kid and his wife and the god he didn't believe in. None of this made sense so I asked him if it was something else, something bigger like he must love her. But he didn't know. He loved her once and she loved him but now they have separate bedrooms and they prefer it that way. They need their own space. Except once every eight weeks, more often than a real blue moon but that's what he called it. That's when they had sex, once every eight weeks. I think sometimes how that might be, fucking someone who you don't even enjoy spending time with but I try not to think about it too much because I just get sick and sad. I still don't know how it happened, exactly. It was my invitation, to dinner if nothing else. Yes I found him beautiful but I didn't belive in our friendship and that was his fault. He said believing is just fooling yourself and I believed everything he said.
I remember my family teasing me that night when I put on my third choice of shirts, the final decision a chest-hugging pink tee shirt with a low neck line. My friends and family laughed at how much I was obsessing over the way I look, something I NEVER do. And this was just dinner, supposedly. I had no other expectations, only fantasies that I never thought would come true. He was due to arrive in thirty minutes and I couldn't stop the jitters. I even tried drinking a beer and listening to soft music but nothing stopped the nerves. It was strange, because I was usually so comfortable with him but somehow knowing that he would be in my house, eating dinner, drinking wine and having fun with my friends and family made me feel more on the spot. It was a far cry from the school cafeteria.
When I answered the door the first thing I noticed was that it was the first time I had seen him without a jacket and tie. He looked casual and comfortable in his nicely fitting jeans and blue button down shirt. He was carrying a bottle of wine in each hand and put them down to give me a long hug. He pointed to the wine and said, one of these is for your family and one is for us and winked. My face got red at the thought of us sitting alone in a room, sipping wine. While our friendship was usually one of mature exchange, his casual attitude was making me feel giddy like a little girl.
This guy seemed to have all the right moves. He impressed my parents over dinner by complimenting the meal and discussing his nearly complete dissertation for his PhD, and of course, serving them an excellent merlot. My parents were sleepy from the wine and in bed by nine and he then continued to impress my friends by teaching us a fun new card game and advising them about their schoolwork. He was by nature a charmer. My friends left, giving me a mischievous look and now the pressure was really on. As much as I wanted to, I was determined not to make a move on him in fear that I would be rejected. After all, what would this sexy, successful guy want with me? He could have anyone in the world. There was an awkward silence. He broke it by asking if I wanted to watch some funny online cartoons.