March 08, 2008

Showing Some "T" for a "D"

My first year of college was one of the best years of my life. I absolutely loved it. I was discovering a new world and making new friends. I found the love of my life. I also met the man who would become my husband. (I wouldn't realize for a few years that I had the wrong guy in the "love of my life" position.) I got a major role in a play, which was so much fun. Everything was going extremely well.

Except one thing: I was failing Math.

Math has always been my Achilles' heel. I took the lowest level Algebra class I could take while still receiving credits. The boss on the TV show 10 Items or Less reminds me of my college math teacher in both looks and behavior. "Mr. K" was a sweet, married man and the youngest professor I would ever have. At some point, I realized I could act like a clown in class, asking funny questions and teasing Mr. K in an attempt to distract him enough to waste some math-related class time. It worked. In my humorous attempts, though, I was also trying to understand what was going on so I could pass. I would even stay after class sometimes, mainly in order to show him I was trying. We developed a weird connection. Could it be? I had a crush on my math professor! (Before that, my high school drama teacher had a thing for me and we even dated a few times. Psychoanalyse that.)

One afternoon, I was sitting by myself in the common area. It was a beautiful day and I was enjoying the weather while reading a book.

"Kelly! Shouldn't you be studying your math?" Mr. K yelled out from a nearby table, teasing me in an authoritarian tone. He had a huge smile on his face and I could tell he thought he was being very funny.

"Uh, no. It's not 11:15 yet. I only think about math during class," I sarcastically teased back.

"Maybe that's your problem! Come sit over here and we'll go over your work."

I looked back down and smirked. "If you want to talk to me, Professor, you'll have to come sit over here!" I looked back up, flashed a smile, and he blushed.

A moment later, he was sitting on the bench next to me. We chatted about the weather and then he asked me if I had any trouble with my homework. I refused to talk math since we weren't in class, telling him so. (I wasn't kidding about not thinking about math.) I got weird looks from passing students. Talking to a professor here must look weird, I thought.

"Well, I'll see you later on in class," he said, giggling.

As I watched him walk away I found myself wishing he weren't married, even though I couldn't imagine that we would have ever had enough in common. But there was an undeniable chemistry between us and I'm sure he felt it, too. I would have never acted upon it and that's maybe what made it fun.

I put my head down to return to my book. To my horror, the top three buttons of my dress were undone...undone far enough that my pink bra was showing. So exposed, in fact, Janet Jackson would have felt bad for me. I was so embarrassed!

However, I DID get a "D" in the class (enough to pass and receive credits), even though I failed every freaking test. I can't say it was definitively the pink bra. I like to think it was my tenacious attempt to pass by working hard.


I transferred to another campus the next year, leaving Mr. K and the pink bra incident behind. A few years later I was shopping with my mom. I was by myself in the paper towel aisle, standing on my toes trying to reach a certain package (I'm picky). With my back turned, I heard someone very close whisper, "Do you recommend any certain kind?" I turned to see Mr. K and his sweet smile.

I tried to make some lame math-related joke about the ply times the sheets per roll divided by cost, but he just smiled. We talked for a while and then he said he had to go. "It was great to see you," he said, giving me a hug.

When I rejoined my mom at the end of the aisle, she said, "Who was that? Did you guys date or something?"

"No..." I sighed.


Glenn said...

"Before that, my high school drama teacher had a thing for me and we even dated a few times." OK...that's a little creepy.

If you wouldn't have acted on your attraction for Mr. K, then did you care if he was married or not? Or would you have acted on it if he weren't married?

I wonder what your grade would've been if you pulled a "Basic Instinct" type move in class?

Kel said...

Good to see you, Glenn.

I agree the high school teacher thing is probably creepy. He wasn't THAT much older than me (maybe like 7 years), though. He did continue to call me periodically, even after I was married. I didn't realize he was so interested in me. I was really naive.

I guess I wouldn't have acted on my attraction to Mr. K ONLY because he was married. I think he and I would have really gotten along well if something would have been possible. That's even assuming I would have "acted on" anything since I was shy and didn't really date much up until that point. It was more of a nice idea.

And not to toot my own horn, but I would have given me an A! Haha.