Last semester, I woke up one Thursday morning naked in my Professor’s bed. My eyes opened upon two windows draped delicately with simple blue curtains and as I wiped at my eyelids with my fingertips I realized this was not my modest one-bedroom apartment. I heard a light shuffling near the foot of the bed but, facing the windows, I was unsure of what awaited me should I turn around. I clenched the sheets tightly around my frame and slowly turned only my head, careful to remain quiet.
There he stood in front of a round mirror, a man of average height, carefully securing a dark yellow tie into a half-windsor knot. My heart shifted in my chest by at least several inches, I was certain. I fought desperately in my mind for any recollection of how I’d landed in between these sheets. My eyes fixed on his reflection in the mirror, I watched as he straightened the cuffs to his gray shirt and then combed his dark hair straight with his long fingers. His eyes shifted suddenly in the mirror and I knew he was looking right at me. I closed my eyes as quickly as I could in an attempt to feign sleep but embarrassed that he was now seeing my face full on and worried that he had caught me watching him.
How did I think I would fool him? I slowly opened my eyes. He had turned away from the mirror to face me and stood with his hands in his pockets. He sucked at his lower lip as he so often did in lectures before beginning to speak.
“I have work to do, so I’ve got to run but there’s key on the counter, please leave it under the doormat on your way out.” He began to walk towards the door, but hesitated for a moment. “Don’t hesitate to have a glass of orange juice or something before you leave.” He gave an awkward half smile.
He turned to leave and pulled the door shut behind him. In an attempt to relax myself after these last few minutes, I let out a loud sigh and tossed my head to the side, my eyes landing by chance on a framed photograph of my Professor and his wife on the bedside table. The door opened again quickly, startling me, and I looked over quickly to find him ducking in. He leaned forward to grab a set of keys that were sitting on a chair by the door.
“Ah... forgot something!” Another polite smile, as if this was his office hour. His eyes moved up to something just past me before the door was shut behind him once more. I looked back over, attempting to follow the path of his quick gaze. It was without a doubt that photo. I wonder what thoughts were going through his mind.
With my Professor now gone, I returned to considering this unexpected and atypical situation that had unraveled before me. This professor, Dr. Martin, was one of my favorites and I had certainly respected and admired his knowledge and work. Our relationship had never come close to anything inappropriate, and in fact, the only contact we had shared besides discussing final projects and exams was one December when he showed at a department social, something he wasn’t accustomed to doing. A shy man, or so it seemed although others often mistook it for arrogance, he had spoken to me for no more than five minutes about a mutual distaste for being bombarded with holiday music and then quickly fled for the snack table.
Still, I could not deny an attraction that I had felt for him, one which I often contemplated and attempted to talk myself out of, given our age differences and the inappropriateness of the situation. I assumed it was something my mind had dreamt up as a result of his position of power. I never spoke of it.
Turning my head once more, I caught sight again of the photo of Dr. Martin and his wife. My stomach felt as if it collapsed. Where was she? How had I gotten here? Had we slept together? We must have, I was in his bed, after all, not gallantly carried into a guest bedroom by him for my own safety after, I don’t know, he had found me drunk on the sidewalk downtown. No, that could not have been the case, but I was still devoid of clues.
I sat up and surveyed the floor around me. Would there be a trail of my clothes? A sock here, my underwear there, perhaps leading me back to my bra tossed over a chair in the living room? At the foot of the bed I found my clothes in a neat, folded pile. My eyes widened, how sweet? Dr. Martin had always been a well-kept and organized man. Maybe he was helping me, or maybe saving himself from the trouble of my leaving something behind for his wife to find. Perhaps he was doing both. I got up and began to dress in my clothes from last night, straightening my garments in the mirror as he had done earlier.
I treaded quietly in search of the bathroom. Finding it, I secured the door behind me. I looked at myself in the mirror and pulled the tangles out of my hair with my fingers. Pulling my fingers out through the ends of my hair, I looked around me for a bin in which to throw the inevitable loose strands. Just as I was about to do so, I thought of Dr. Martin’s wife with her cropped, pixie cut and how, if she were very observant, these hairs might be hard to explain. Oh why and how had he brought me home! I know I could have never seduced him, no matter the effort! I wiggled my fingers over the toilet to let the strands fall in and flushed them down. I spotted two toothbrushes, one black and one white, by the sink. Their home was so modern and sensible, much like Dr. Martin’s way of dress. Always at the utmost level of professionalism, but always in very flattering and unexpected colors.
I knew I needed to get out of that house and into my bedroom where I could stuff headphones in my ears, breathe in deeply, and laugh or cry into a pillow. I needed to decompress. I pulled my boots on and began to head for the door but, before my hand touched the knob I froze, turned on my heels, and walked swiftly back to the bedroom. I approached the bed, reached for the pillow from the side where he had slept, and pressed it to my face, breathing in. So this was his scent. I felt my thighs clenching together. I sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed my thumb knuckle along the seam of my jeans by my crotch. Feverishly, I unzipped my pants and proceeded to bring myself to orgasm, rubbing myself outside of my underwear with the tips of my fingers.
Awaking from my fantasy, I caught myself smiling but was quickly embarrassed and, glancing quickly at the photo on Dr. Martin’s bedside table, I was overcome with a dirty feeling. I stood, zipped my pants, recomposed myself, and left the room.
Now I could finally make my way home.
© Copyright 2016 Mary Harris. All rights reserved.