I had started my creative writing class two weeks ago at Teldare Community College. Had I known that I was destined to develop such a passion for writing, I would have taken more writing classes when I was in college. This adult education class meets two nights a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The focus of this class is both poetry and short story writing. We have a large class, with students ranging from late teens to early sixties. I was sitting at my desk, just after our mid class break, when a young man from class handed me an envelope.
“I wrote you a poem, please look at it when you get home.” He said with a shy nervous grin before taking his seat.
He was a few years younger than me, about 22 or 23 years old. He was on the tall side and slender. He had brown curly hair and blue eyes. I didn’t know his name but I had noticed him looking at me a few times since class started. He was staring straight ahead and obviously trying to avoid my gaze. I put his envelope in my purse. I glanced at him from time to time during class and he never looked my way. When class was over, he hurried out before me and was gone when I went outside.
When I got back to my apartment, I sat on my couch and opened his envelope. It was a typewritten poem.
You are like an angel from the sky
I adore you, and want to be your guy
I dream of stroking your blonde hair
Whilst gazing into blue eyes, so fair
I want to kiss your lips so very slow
Letting our passions grow and grow
Let me embrace you tight in my arms
So we can enjoy each other’s charms
I fell in love with you at first sight
My heart tells me, that we are right
Even if you say no, I will forever try
Because if I can’t have you, I’ll die
The note was signed: Yours Forever, Bill.
I felt an ominous chill run through me. I didn’t even know this guy. Surely he had dated before, he was fairly good looking. Why would he give this poem to a complete stranger? Immediately thoughts of him having mental problems came to my mind. What should I do? How should I handle this? I called my friend Jane and told her what happened. I read the poem to Jane. I got a bad feeling again just reading it to her.
“Tell him you’re engaged or married. Tell him your husband is a big bruiser and the jealous type.” Jane said after a slight pause.
I thanked her for her suggestion and called my friend Mary.
“Don’t do anything to encourage him and don’t go anywhere alone with him.” Mary suggested.
I assured Mary I would not go anywhere with him.
I was sick to my stomach. I wondered if he even realized what my reaction would be. I wondered if he thought I would date him and fall in love with him. I was restless all night thinking about seeing Bill on Thursday.
On Wednesday morning I convinced myself that Bill was just an overly zealous poet. This was probably his way of “testing the waters” and if I was firm and said no, he would just drop it. Later Wednesday, I waffled again and was getting myself upset. Thursday I made sure I dressed very conservatively for class. I got to the classroom early and waited just outside the door for Bill to arrive.
I saw Bill walking toward me and I motioned with my finger for him to approach me.
“Hi, did you like my poem?” Bill asked with a thin smile and puppy dog eyes.
“Your poem was written nicely, but it made me uncomfortable. I do not want a relationship, even a friendly one. I don’t mean to be rude, but I would rather we didn’t talk again. Here is your poem back.” I said holding out the envelope.
Bill did not even try to take it from me.
“I am a great guy. You will learn to like me after a while. You keep that.” He said, as he walked in and sat down.
I walked over and put the envelope on his desk and sat in my usual chair.
Bill did not look at me for the rest of the class. When class was over, he left quickly, leaving his poem on his desk where I put it.
I picked up the poem and went to talk to the professor that was teaching the class. He was busy with a few students, so I waited. I explained what had happened and Mr. Martin read the poem.
“I understand how this can make you uncomfortable. I will keep the poem and call the young man and have a talk with him.”
I thanked Mr. Martin and tried to put the whole thing out of my mind over the weekend. I felt better that Mr. Martin was going to talk to Bill.
The following Tuesday when I arrived at class Bill was not there yet. I asked Mr. Martin if he had a chance to talk to Bill.
“Yes, I called the young man. He told me that he realized he should not have come on to you so strongly. He said he was sorry that he might have scared you. He assured me that was not his attention. He said he would not bother you again.”
I thanked Mr. Martin and sat at my desk. Bill walked in a little while later and set a single yellow rose on my desk.
“That is a peace rose, it means I’m sorry. Do you forgive me?”
The whole class including Mr. Martin was looking. I nodded yes. Bill smiled thinly and took his seat. We avoided each other during the break. Bill hurried out of the class as soon as it was over. On my way out the door I threw the yellow rose in the garbage can. I was almost to my car in the parking lot when I heard Bill’s voice behind me.
“I won’t bother you. I just want you to know that I will be waiting for you if you ever change your mind.”
I stopped and turned around facing Bill.
“Listen to me Bill. I have no feelings for you, I never did and I never will. Go find someone else to love. If you approach me again I will go to the police. I am serious, leave me alone.”
Bill turned and left without saying a word.
I drove home shaking, partly because I was upset, and partly because I was mad. I was very stern with Bill and I could see in his eyes he got the message.
Wednesday evening, Bills suicide was reported on the six o’clock news. There was no note.