Rated: GC · Short Story · Romance/Love · #815061
A young composer must face her one demon: her love for a former teacher.
|Clearly this was not my time. I always hoped I would find the answers in my old age. Fourteen years is not enough time to come to terms with their affair, or should I say what I have always thought was their affair. Even after college and success as a composer, I cannot get over what could only be statutory rape. Why, though, does it continue to weigh on my mind?|
I sat there, a fresh Capone cigarillo in hand, waiting for an answer. For many years I had wondered about those two. They always seemed too close to be colleagues or even friends. I always thought they were lovers.
Why did it bother me so much, though? I mean, he was my band teacher, and she was a student when they first met. I always considered her to be a little more intelligent than to pursue him. Most girls seek advice when they develop a crush on a teacher. Did she? She may have, but judging from how close she seemed to him, I doubt it. Aside from that minor detail, what had me obsess over this for years? It's been fifteen years since I first met him, fifteen years since she first met him.
Lighting the Capone, I looked back at all the little things I had come to discover as time had passed. There was that freaky incident where she had placed a picture of his face over a photograph of a Chippendale. She'd gone to dinner with him as well on several occasions. He took a job near her college after she graduated. They spent most of the recent FMEA conference at the hotel bar together, even though I swear she was exhibiting signs of pregnancy.
Then there were some things I'm convinced happened, things that to this day, I still find lurking in my nightmares. I could still hear that odd music lingering from his office, the discordant thumps from the walls, and the jarring, disruptive, and somewhat torturous chorus of voices I'd sometimes hear while attempting to practice in the back room. What was the source of all those noises? Why did they haunt me for years? Sometimes, when I had just returned home from a conference, I'd hear the voices in the back of my mind, him moaning her name. I'd pound my head into the wall until I passed out, hoping to purge of myself of the memories.
But then there was a dream I had not too long ago. It was so surreal at first that I screamed in my head to wake up. The grass was a beautiful blue green, and the sky above was almost navy (even in the day). Then, something changed the scene. I saw myself laying there in the grass covered only by a white sheet. He showed up wearing a white robe which sometimes flew open at the whim of the wind. As he sat next to me, I was shocked to find that he was aroused and, more disturbingly, he didn't even seem to realize it. When he finally spoke, I learned why.
"Good to see you again," he said.
"Again?" I had retorted. "What the fuck do you mean by again?"
"You visited me in a dream, and I had finally seen you as I had desired to see you for many years," he continued.
"Like this? Buck naked? Exposed in more ways than one against my will?"
"You called it," he said, "and I was so willing to fulfill your desires."
"We've always wondered about one another, and all your guy friends back in school fed both of our curiosities. You wanted to know why they wished for me to fondle them, and I wanted to know why you would so adamantly believe what you knew was a lie," he said.
"But I thought-"
"He was always a friend, Janie. Only a friend. Yes, he hit on me a few times, but when I told him who I really loved...he shot himself."
"What did you tell him?" I asked, hoping that it would send him running.
"That I loved you," he whispered, and at that, he lay himself on top of me. His lips met mine, and I didn't fight him as he kissed me.
Oh shit. I had that dream again, didn't I? I felt its effects in the heat in my cheeks and the burning down below.
I woke up the next morning in the same chair I was in the night before. I peered at the coffee table and saw two burned up cigarillos lying in the ashtray. It was six AM, and I remembered that I had a rehearsal with his band in the early afternoon. He had asked me to be a guest conductor at the FMEA conference, something to which I had agreed at first while under the influence, but now I was committed to it.
I arrived at the school around noon, just before the next block. As students went to their various classes, I sat with him in his office discussing the pieces I was going to be conducting.
"I remember when we played 'Molly on the Shore'," I said to him. "Those were good times, and it was one of the best tenor parts I ever played."
"That's what my tenor players tell me," he said, and we both shared a laugh.
"Yeah, but I have to admit I became addicted to the song, and it causes mental dysfunction," I told him.
"Really?" he asked. "How so?"
"It's a personal issue," I said, waving my hand to end that line of conversation. Truth is, the song made me remember him a lot, as he had once so gracefully conducted the song. I remember that watching him conduct it had a way of driving me crazy, crazy to the point I'd..don't even touch that thought, Jane.
The bell rang, and I had a rehearsal to lead.
After the rehearsal, I decided to meet him for drinks at a local bar. I decided since I was in town, I'd finally ask him about her. I knew it'd be almost perverted of me to ask some of the questions bounding around in my mind. Still, it was a problem I had yet to face. I needed to face it more than anything.
I arrived only to find him holding a seat for me. As opposed to the school environment, he seemed unafraid of exuding an innuendo laden sort of charm. His close-cropped hair and firm skin emphasized a youthful façade he managed to keep up for almost seventeen years. If I didn't know him, I'd be thinking, Yeah, I'll let this guy buy me some drinks. Seeing him so relaxed was very unusual for me. I was unsettled by his quasi-sleaziness, exacerbated by the knowledge that his fortieth birthday was approaching. I worried that if this was how he was outside of an educational theater, I'd never know about him...and her.
"Dirty Finlandia Gibson, up," I told the bartender as I sat in the seat he had so graciously reserved for me.
"Janie," he greeted me.
"Mister Phillips, it's Jane," I nearly spat. "Why did you call me Janie?"
"I said that?" he asked.
"Yes, you did," I told him.
"I'm so sorry," he replied.
"It's okay," I said a little more gently. "Now onto more important things."
"You and Casey."
"You're not the first to ask," he said, "and I knew you were suspicious."
"You did?" I asked.
"Sure, but it's not what you think."
"You mean you two never had sex."
"We did...several years ago. She came on to me at the conference, but I told her that I regretted sleeping with her and that I wasn't about to fall for her act again."
"So she seduced you."
"Yeah. It took her a while, and when you two were my students, I really had a tough time dealing with her always being around because she was an officer and what not. I spent time with her as a means of appeasement, never considering what it would do to my reputation. She always wanted more, though."
"And so she forced you into bed," I said, taking a sip of my gibson.
"Yes and no," he replied. "I decided to sleep with her when I first arrived here to see if that would affect her in any way. I knew she was a virgin, and after one loses their virginity, they have to deal with a cavalcade of emotions."
"Yeah, sometimes," I mumbled. "But how did you know about her virginity?"
"She begged me to take her virginity while you two were still my students," he said. "She actually masturbated in my office, hoping I'd catch her and finish her off."
"So that's what I heard while I was trying to practice," I said.
At that, he chuckled. "Yeah. I almost ran in the back room on occasion so I wouldn't have to deal with that."
"In that case, I don't blame you. I mean, what sane teacher would want to see one of their students getting off in their office?"
"None, and even the insane teachers like me aren't exactly fond of the prospect either."
We both had a good laugh at that, but internally I was trembling. I suddenly felt so at ease it startled me. I'm not sure what it was, but I was beginning to fill my head with new questions, questions about me.
"I can only imagine," I said once I could breathe again. "You wonder why I score films for a living."
"I don't wonder," he replied. "I know."
Then together we chorused, "No hormone fueled students!"
Without thinking, we raised our glasses and toasted to that remark. The clink of the glasses pierced at my eardrums, but now I didn't care. I could feel myself loosen up, and looking at my glass, I realized my gibson was gone. I found the bartender and motioned for another.
"Drink much?" he asked, worry lingering in his voice. "You polished off that gibson like it was nothing."
"Ah, I just like gibsons," I told him, but my eyes began to wander from his face. I found myself staring at his navy blue tie, and I suddenly remembered that dream.
"You okay?" he asked me.
I found my new drink and nearly gulped it down. "Yeah, sure," I told him, but clearly I was beginning to crack.
For a moment, I realized that I had enough alcohol to prompt me to reveal my true feelings, to truly take on my demons. I wasn't ready, though, yet I couldn't stop myself even if I tried.
"Janie, you're not okay," he half scolded me.
"Why the fuck are you calling me Janie?" I asked. "You're treating me as if I was your lover."
Shit. Did I just say that out loud?
"A lover?" he asked. With that, he turned to the bartender. "What's the damage?"
After we left the bar, we were at his apartment, which it turns out was within walking distance. I tripped about five times trying to ascend the stairs to his apartment. By the time I was in the door, I had to sit because my ankle felt like it was sprained. My mind was swimming, and coherent thought seemed miles away. I fought to maintain some control over my thought processes so I could get answers to my new questions, but the poison in my body wouldn't let me.
"Now answer me this," he said. "Why the fuck would I treat you like a lover?"
"Why did you appease Casey?" I retorted. "Did you feel any attraction toward her?"
"No," he replied. "So why do you automatically think I would want you as a lover just because I called you Janie in the bar?"
"Nobody fucking calls me Janie!" I screamed. "Not even you! When we were teacher and student, you always called me Jane. Always. Even when you rubbed my back when we had argued in your office that one time. Remember that?"
He hung his head. Obviously, he remembered.
"Why'd you do it?" I asked. "And why'd you treat me like shit afterward?"
Finally, he spoke. "I was haunted."
"Haunted?" I asked, rising from his white couch. "By what? By guilt? Guilt over the fact that you improperly touched a student?"
"Yes," he whispered.
"Good!" I shouted. "Now why the fuck did you touch me like that?"
"That was the only way I could think of to comfort you," he said. "You were so upset you could hardly see, hardly breathe. I felt so terrible over you wanting to leave, and what disturbed me was how deeply I felt. Not only did I feel upset over a student being upset, I felt as if...you were rejecting me."
Suddenly, I found myself no longer in control of my body or my mind. The alcohol was slowly wearing off, but a new kind of courage was emerging. I took a look at him and was surprised at what I saw: love. He loved me. He wanted me...and I wasn't going to fight it.
It was time to let go of my pride. I had to tell him.
"You're wrong," I told him.
With that, I walked over to the chair he was occupying. Not really aware of what I was doing, I straddled him and lay my lips on his. As our tongues mingled, I could feel his hand underneath me, pulling me closer to him.
"I love you," he said, briefly breaking the kiss.
In spite of my sudden lust, I managed to say one thing before I resumed the kiss.
"I love you. It took me forever to admit it, but I always have. Now don't leave me."