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The first time we met was at a party.
Your ex arrived to show off the person he’d left you for last month, and you asked me to pretend to be your date.
I was more than happy to help. You were attractive, smart and witty–and that kiss we shared? It left me wanting you for days.
The second time we met was in my office on campus where we were both surprised to discover you were the new master’s degree student in poetry that I would be working with. You promised to be professional. I did no such thing.
The late nights and intense study sessions spent alongside you majorly throw me off my game. I want you, and I fight with myself daily over this fact.
I know I’m crass, that my sexual innuendos and dirty mouth annoy you, but I live for those two bright spots of color in your cheeks. If that’s the only reaction I can get out of you, I’ll gladly take it.
You hate Mondays so every Monday I slip an anonymous poem into your bag and your smile gets me through the week.
I think I’m falling for you, and I know it’s wrong. I know that I’m only supposed to be the adviser to your program and nothing more, but here’s the thing. I think you’re falling for me too.
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“When was the last time you’ve been laid, son?” Mom studied me over the rim of her reading spectacles with a knowing smirk.
I almost spit out my coffee. “Mom, we’re not discussing that. Boundaries. Remember? We’ve talked about this.”
My mother lacked a filter, and she seemed inordinately curious about the state of my sex life. I kept telling myself that was only because she didn’t have one. Please let that be the reason.
She merely shrugged. “I worry, you know.”
The truth was, the only thing that went down on me this weekend was my Wi-Fi.
But worse than that? My own fucking mother pointing out my dry spell to me in such vivid detail.
“I’m fine, Mom. Seriously. You don’t need to worry.”
I knew enough to know we probably didn’t have a normal mother-son relationship. My parents had divorced when I was young, and I was raised primarily by my mother, and so we’d always been incredibly close.
“Zach, you don’t have to be in a committed relationship to have intercourse,” she paused to take a sip of her coffee, smiling again, “or so I’ve heard.”
“I’m well aware of that,” I gritted out. “Thanks, Mom.”
Twice a week, my calendar was marked for a date at the same café with one of the sweetest, and nosiest women in town—you guessed it—my mother. This probably didn’t help my limited social life outside of university events and the occasional evening out, but she was bored out of her mind after retiring, and since she lived not far from campus, it was a tradition we’d adopted. And one that I was quickly starting to rethink.
I must have gotten my early morning gene from her because she always managed to beat me here, so that she was primed and ready to fire off questions as soon as I arrived. Admittedly, my commute was a bit longer than hers. Working at the university, I learned damn quick which coffee shops and bars were far enough from campus to avoid running into students, and I was more than willing to drive across town to avoid a student hearing my mother discussing my sex life a little too loudly.
Mom leaned forward and patted the back of my hand. “So, what’s really going on, sweetie? What’s with the dry spell? Your aura is all out of whack.” She swished her hand in the air in front of my face as if to wipe the bad vibes away.
“At least let me get some caffeine in my system before you cleanse my aura.” I plastered on a fake smile.
After I’d taken a few more healthy sips of coffee, Mom placed her elbows on the table and leaned in.
“If we’re not going to talk about your personal life, tell me about work. Classes start Monday, right? Do you think you’ll get mistaken for a grad student again this year?”
Last year, my first year as the assistant director in the creative writing program, I was hit on by students all the time, and Mom loved to bring this up. Once they found out who I was, their embarrassment was almost palpable. But it came with the territory of being the youngest assistant director the department had ever had.
“Not sure. I guess we’ll see.” My colleagues and I had spent the last two weeks in training, preparing for the arrival of students back on campus to breathe the life-blood into the prestigious university and into our dusty old offices.
I had a good feeling about this year. And I loved what I did. I was an assistant director in the academic advising office. So, while the advisers who worked for me helped the undergraduate students with transferring credits and enrolling in courses, I oversaw the handful of graduate students we had each year, taking a personal interest in their success. It was a pretty low-key job that allowed me to work on the book I’d been writing for the past two years now.
“And you’re still thinking about New York?” she asked.
I nodded. “That’s the plan.” After this academic year was over, my plan was to leave my job at the university and move to New York City where I could focus on my writing career and finally finish my manuscript.
I finished off the rest of my coffee and got up to toss the empty cup, then gave my mom a kiss on the cheek.
“Sorry to head out early, Mom,” I said, lucky to have an excuse at the ready. “I’ve got meetings back on campus.” And I’d maxed out on sex life conversations with my mother for the day.
“Bye, Zachary.” Mom smiled warmly at me, watching me go.
As I climbed into my car for the drive over to campus, I mentally noted that it was Friday. Maybe I’d take her suggestion after all and go out tonight. You never knew when you might just meet the one.