My English Professor Part IV #shortfiction #amwriting

stack of thick books on table
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“I’m not dying,” Giles says suddenly, probably noting my trembling lips and eyes welling with tears. He upends stacks of papers, moves books and finally finds a box of tissues, the box rather worse for being under a hardback book or two. He hands the box to me.

“I’m going home for surgery and to be near my family. My doctor has assured me that we’ve caught the cancer in time. My parents are still alive. My mother would never forgive me if I had cancer surgery and didn’t tell her about it, much less allow her to be there,” he says in a stream of words. He splays his fingers through his thick chestnut hair, his eyes flickering at me.

I dab at errant tears and then blow my nose. I bow my head. All of this is far too much. I’m not an emotional person but I feel like I have emotional whiplash from this half-hour with him.

Yellow sunshine pours in through his window as the sun lowers. I avoid his eyes and remain silent, afraid that if I even opened my mouth, I might sob and how would that look? The ever-stoic Sara jettisoning emotion.

“I remember the kiss,” he says softly, so softly that I’m not sure I actually heard the words until I glance up and see that shy smile that makes my heart skip. “I liked that kiss.”

I smile and then shake my head. “But then why? Why have you held me at arm’s length?”

“Because I don’t think you and I are destined for each other,” he says.

“What? You have some crystal ball that you’ve been using?”

“No. But obviously if we were right for each other something would have happened by now,” he says.

I laugh humorlessly. “It did. We had one helluva kiss and you decided to ignore it. That night. Do you really remember that kiss? How your eyes glazed when you looked at me?”

“They didn’t.”

I’m on my feet and in his face before he can react. I place my palms against his cheeks and then kiss him for everything that I’m worth. And then his arms are around me. His kisses become soft, tasting my lips. His tongue running over them until I’m melting against him, cherry ice cream on a July afternoon. My arms slide around him, pressing our bodies together. When finally we come up for air, his eyes are glazed and I am satisfied. A kitten with cream, I almost purr.

“If nothing ever happened, it’s because of you,” I say before kissing him again.

He hugs me. He buries his nose in my hair. “This is so wrong, Sara.”


“Because I’m leaving.”

“I’d go to the ends of the earth for you,” I say, and then feel embarrassed at my own dramatic response.

“Why would you give up the life you’ve made?” he asks.

“Because I’ve made this life because of you. That might not be a great feminist statement, but I’ve chosen this path to be near you. You are part, you’re a lot, of my happiness. Seeing you everyday. Hearing you everyday.”

“No much pressure there,” he says, a teasing note in his voice.

“No pressure. Just being near you.” My fingers run over his jaw.

I kiss him again and press myself against him. “Can you give me a chance?”

“Oh, Sara. How? I’m leaving.”

I close my eyes. I’ve never considered life in England. What if we didn’t work? Would I really be throwing away everything I’ve worked for? But then, how huge would the regrets be if I never gave us a chance?

“Maybe you’re right,” I say after a moment. “I can’t throw everything away on a whim.”

His eyes narrow, I think I almost see disappointment in them, but he nods. “Yes. Smart girl.”

But I can investigate my options. And, I’ve always wanted to visit England.


more to come?

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