It started out simple enough. Actually, Andrew wasn’t the type of guy I even noticed or gave a second thought to. But he noticed me the first day we met, when I came to check out my new job as a bootcamp teacher that summer. I couldn’t recall meeting him, but I did have an instant crush on one of the drill sergeants.
Before that point in time, my desire for men was completely gone for the first time in my life, since the age of twelve.
The first day of school, Andrew flirted shamelessly with me at lunchtime; smiling, and asking my age (which I never told him). I was forty-nine, he was thirty-nine. I thought “Whatever, married guy, back off already.” There was no way. We had the same job position, only he had the high school students, and I the middle school.
He was sweet, friendly, helpful, and kind. He appeared a professional, perfect gentleman and began sending friendly emails from day one. I remembered his gold band had a cross engraved on it, and his classroom wall was mounted with crosses. The emails were benign. He told me good morning and how was my day, or that coffee or donuts were waiting in the lounge.
Why did I respond? I looked forward to them, and he made me smile. The same was true at lunch. Friendly banter with me, and maybe another colleague or two. “What did you get for lunch?” “Did you workout?” “How was your weekend?” He had been married for seventeen years and had four kids. I was charmed and off-guard. I wasn’t initially attracted to him anyway. He was average height with a few extra, married-man pounds.
His hair was a bit thinning at the crown and thinning all over. He had an awesome set of pecs, arms, and shoulders, though (the football coach thing). His face was very handsome; brick-colored skin, topaz-caramel, hazel eyes, framed by thick black lashes and brows. His jet hair making his ruddy complexion striking. He was in the work, friend-zone for me. That is how these things get started. At this point in time, I should have firmly, deleted his emails, and stone-walled the flirting.
However, I was a woman with the childlike maturity of a five-year-old girl, and the self-esteem of a floor mat. I did not see that Andrew was slowly encroaching upon my flimsy boundaries. Had I understood that his helpfulness, compliments, emails, and flirtations were out-of-line for a married man, I would have rebuffed him.
Instead, I went with the way he made me feel. He told me I was gorgeous everyday. I soaked it in liked a dried-out sponge.
I was falling in love. I knew it because he would allow me to gaze all the way into his eyes for miles, without walling them off. There were misty clouds and heavenly universes in there, and deep, mystical landscapes. A piece of his soul was made visible, vulnerable to me.
One bright day, we found ourselves alone in the lounge. We spent the hour like we were on a date. I emerged into the sunlight feeling like Cinderella had just found her prince, but she had to go. Her shoe dropped to the ground, the birds sang, the people smiled in slow-motion, and the butterflies came all around sending their tingling sensations up and down her body. Blonde hair flowing in the wind, I ran back to my classroom on the wings of love.