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The first chill from seeing her had been replaced by fiery heat. She must have seen it on my face. She stood up to meet me and placed her hand against my cheek as she spoke. "I didn't want you to forget me." She smiled, leaning forward to taste my lips. 

I didn't move. Instinctively, I knew if I did she would be gone before I could blink an eye. "Leave your bedroom window open, will you? I like watching you when you're alone."

With that she was gone. It wasn't a matter of not letting her go. She moved so quickly that I almost wondered if I had imagined her. The taste of her lipstick and the smell of her perfume against my skin told me otherwise. I realized if I wanted more of her, I'd have to reel her in like a fish. Let her learn to trust me. That's what I thought then. Of course it's different now. Things happened.

"I know she can be so tempting when she wants to be, and then suddenly, just when you think you're there with her, she's gone!" He whispered from the other side of the table. There were several beer mugs spread like empty lives around us waiting to be filled. I nodded in understanding, wondering if he wanted to say more, but the distant look left his face and he turned his attention back to me.

I thought I would surprise her. I left the window open like she wanted; but again, it was an eternity of my personal wanting her time before I saw her, standing there at my window as I prepared for bed. I felt I was ready this time, to give some of her own back to her.

Without a word or a glance of acknowledgment, I did my routine set of exercises on the floor ... pushups and sit-ups ... until the sweat poured from me against my chest and my muscles grew weary.

Out of the corner of my eye I knew she was there, like a shadow, watching me.

I turned out the lights then, my back to her, and went into the shower. She hadn't said a word the whole time nor made any indication she wanted to come inside. She just watched.

When I came out, I thought she had gone. I didn't know whether to be glad or sad. I stopped myself from going to the window and settled myself under my covers.

It took awhile for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, and then I saw her standing there in a corner of the room. I watched her until my eyes grew weary, not making a sound nor moving a limb ... until I finally willed myself to sleep. She was gone in the morning. So was a pair of my slacks, a shirt and other apparel.

The next night it was the same, except when I awoke, I discovered she had laid out what she wanted me to wear that day. It may be hard to believe, but I allowed myself to be led into this strange existance. It was so slow and she was so .... tempting .... it was impossible for me to resist. I fooled myself into believing someone had hurt her and she needed this strange way to reassure herself I would not do the same.

"When did you begin to follow her?" He asked. We both were through drinking. The place was an all night bar and grill, so neither of us felt compelled to leave. I had his attention by now, if not his total belief.
Just like the rest of her, this was not a sudden thing... It got so she actually would climb through the window and lay on my bed watching me, as the nights grew more cold ... but never once did she stay there when I prepared myself for sleep. I don't know how long she stayed after I slept, nor what she did as I dreamed.

One night she was just .... different. She did her own set of exercises with me, she came in jeans and blouse that she undid to reveal a leotard, and she exercised right there with me ... even taking a shower after I did, all without a word exchanged between us. That is, until I came out ready to get into bed. She pressed me to her and whispered while kissing my ear and neck ..."Do you want to see my favorite place?"

I stepped back and nodded. I thought we were making something special, like she was ready now to share part of her, she had never shown anyone else. She made me feel ... like ... the two of us were alone in the world and everything was ours for the taking ... like now, there need be nothing between us. I could almost read her every nuance, her every gesture now ... as if we alone spoke a different language of pure feeling in our simple expressions together.

She slipped back into her jeans and blouse, not waiting for me to dress. I managed to pull on something, I forget what, and slipped out the window after her, not wanting to loose her in the night.
She was a shadow. I couldn't look directly for her, she moved so silently and quickly, I had to look around me and use my peripheral vision. She was like a cat.

I followed her. She climbed through a bedroom window and I could smell the scent of her strong in her room. She lived only a few blocks away from me in a row of student apartments I hadn't known were there. She turned to me as I stood at her window, her eyes glowing.
The light from a street lamp cast my shadow into the room and against her wall ... she moved to it and cuddled up against it ... dancing with it as I touched her with my shadow hands...and sighed contentedly ... It went on like that for several weeks ... some new invention, some new fantasy always dangling between us to arouse my senses and draw me to her.

"Yes, I know..." His voice was so low I strained to make out the words. The sound of his voice was strangely hollow. "She gives you nothing to hold onto ... except the yearning ... and yet it can be so exciting it seems enough ... until you are without her."

I nodded my head slowly. "Her eyes told me when she would allow me to follow her, at first ... told me when it was time to enter her room ... when to take the small personal gifts she laid out for me ... the drawers open for me to choose what she would wear...

"It changed you, then?" He whispered, looking deep within himself. I smiled bitterly.

"It changed me so much I couldn't do a decent class. Some days she would come and sit in the front row ... tease me without a word and then leave ... I never knew when to expect her and never knew what she would do next ... always the tantalizing glance, the sweet surrender to her will, the warmth she aroused that lasted for hours with her ... and then the days of nothing but expectation. It started to show in my classes and I was called in by my supervisors. They asked if I needed some time off ... asked if I was sick ... I knew better than to say what was happening. They gave me a unpaid leave of absence for a month to get myself in order, and told me my job would be there when I came back, but I heard the hesitation in their voices as I left. I didn't care ... I thought it would give me more time with her.

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Revised: March 6, 1999
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