A few chosen diary entries
Monday. He had so many books it made me feel very small, even though I was used to the large university library. I almost made the huge mistake of asking if he had read them all. He went straight to a shelf.
“Here it is,” he said, picking a book. “You'll like it.”
I didn't know if he had invited me just to get that book. My guts told me that no man invites a nineteen-year old girl to see his library with no second intentions. Even if he's a writer spending some time as guest professor. Or, better, specially if he's such a writer.
“Take your time to read it, but bring it back, okay?”
“I'll bring it back soon, I'll read it...”
“Don't worry. Now, I hope you don't mind, but I have some work to do,” he said, walking me to the front door.
I was back at the street, holding a book and feeling lonely.
Maybe he is gay.
Thursday. I wanted to come back to his place. I had already read the book a couple days later and I had a class with him. I went to talk to him when the class was finished, holding the book with two hands, like a little girl.
“Already? So, how did you like it?”
“I loved it.”
“I'm glad. What did you think of it?”
I recited my carefully prepared speech, an arrogant and pretentious analysis of the book that was meant to sound unprepared and natural. He nodded all the time, and asked if I had read two other books. I had read one of them, which made me proud. But I had never heard of the other. I tried to avoid letting him know it, but he found out.
“Oh, it's a minor book, out of print. I have a copy. I'll bring it to you next class.”
I almost asked why he could not take me home like he did Monday, but it was because his class at Monday was the last one of the afternoon, and it was barely three o'clock when we talked today. “I have another class, April. We'll talk more later.”
Saturday morning. He looked surprised when he opened his door.
“I was passing by, and wondered, well, if I could borrow that book you mentioned.”
“Oh, sure. Come in.”
I was at his library again. “It's an impressive library.”
“No, not really. If you keep spending all your money in books, like I did, you'll have a library like this when you are my age. And you'll keep this trim shape of yours, because you'll be starving and almost homeless, but at least reading well.” He laughed. I was about to do something about that compliment when I heard someone else in the room.
“Honey, this is Bea. She's enrolled in one of my courses. Another bookworm.”
`Honey' came to say hello and talk a little bit. She was not pretty. She was as old as him--middle to late thirties. She was smart, though, I could see that. When she told me to sit down, I excused myself.
“I'd really love to... but I have to go... Maybe I could come back another day...” I pretended to really want to stay and plead for another chance, at the same time I tried to get out of there quickly.
Back to the street I imagined `Honey' telling Bates that I was attracted to him, and they laughing at my expense.
I read the book with a mix of hate and pleasure.
Monday. I watched him as much as I watched his class. He didn't seem any different to me, with odd glances or a grin when he looked at me.
“I thought you'd have read it by now.”
“I brought something else to you.” I tried to smile and sound happy as he handed me the new book, but inside I was sad because he was not taking me to his house again. I picked the book, and barely heard his words.
Wednesday. I met him at the corridor, by chance. I stopped to chat with him, but he said he was late.
Thursday. The class dragged slowly, I silently hating him. I wanted to give his book back and wished I never had to see him again. The class emptied quickly, and I couldn't give his book back before we were the only ones left in class. He said he only had a moment to talk to me then, but would very much like to hear my opinion on the book. If I was interested, there was going to be a small dinner at his place tonight, and I was invited.
I didn't know what to wear.
I arrived at his place wearing a dress, one that was not too fancy. I didn't have much choice, and nobody else was wearing a dress. I felt worse than naked. I was too early, and I waited a couple blocks away until I was eight minutes late. A couple had already arrived, and I was glad I wasn't the first one to get there.
I couldn't keep up with the conversation very well. I hate to be shy. He tried to ask my opinion a few times and everybody was polite to me, with the exception of that horrible Alexander.
When the dinner ended people started to gather in small groups, on the living room, on the library, remaining on the dinner table. `Honey' started to talk to me. She had graduated at my university, and we shared a few stories. She tried to be nice, but I just wanted to go home. I felt so out of place.
“Come,” she said. “I want to show you something.”
She took my hand and we went upstairs, to their bedroom. She closed the door and started to show me some old pictures and tell me more stories, ask about me. She managed to make me say that I was so uncomfortable in that dress and apologize because I didn't know what to wear. “Nonsense,” she dismissed. “Come here.” She opened her closet, took a few pieces off and told me to dress them. “I think they'll fit you,” she said. I didn't want to, but that silk blouse... I never had any clothes like that. I finally agreed.
“Where are you going?”
“I... thought you told me to try it...”
“Yes, but... Oh, don't worry, the door is locked, nobody will come in.” She went to the closet again, browsing the hanging clothes. I changed, as quickly as I could. I tried a few clothes, and I slowly got used to it. She finally gave me a dress. “Here. I think you may like to wear this.” It was so pretty. So pretty. I could not resist. I got to my underwear, not even noticing she was watching it. “You can't wear that with a bra,” she giggled. I was suddenly completely self-conscious, that I would be almost completely naked in front of her, that my breasts are small, that I was being naive. “Come on, do it right.” I took it off, my back to her. Then I dress it again. It made me feel somebody else when I looked into the mirror.
“Gosh, does it look good on you. If you ever need it borrowed, come here. That blouse that you liked, though. It's yours. A gift.”
I said I could not accept, that it was too much, but she made me take it. I wanted it. Then she said we should go downstairs, so I should take the dress off. I was distraught and didn't remember I was not wearing a bra. She helped me out of it, and I helped her to hang it.
“You are beautiful, did you know it?” She said it in a way that I had never heard before. No boy has ever said I was beautiful. Then she kissed me. Just like that. I didn't know what to do, and I didn't run away. I didn't ask her to stop. I didn't stop her. Her hand touched one of my breasts, and I was embarrassed to find the nipple hard and that I got a shiver from her touch. I finally backed away, and turned my face. I just heard her saying, “I'll be downstairs.” But she didn't sound hurt...
When I got downstairs, I saw her talking to someone at the bottom of the stairs. I said I had to go. “So soon? No, stay longer.” I said I couldn't, I had class early in the morning. She called Bates, I thanked them for the dinner. She handled me the blouse as I left the door. I refused again. “Nonsense. Take it.” He was by her side, and he also said for me to take it. I felt sorry for him.
“We're hosting a brunch this Sunday. You absolutely must come,” she said.
“You must,” he completed. “We had so little time to talk this evening.”
I said I couldn't. “Just come, we'll be waiting you.”
Sunday. I don't know why I'm going. I shouldn't. I won't. No. I'm strong. I'll wear that blouse and show her that I'm not afraid of her. That I am superior, and that kiss meant nothing to me. Yes. I'll do that.
[In a hurried letter.] Sick. I was sick. They were sick. I was perverted. They were. I hate her. I hate him. Sick. I should have stopped them. I should have stopped her. I shouldn't have gone to her bedroom again. I shouldn't have let her kiss me again. Anywhere. I should have walked out. I should have run when he entered the room. I shouldn't have enjoyed it.