I wrote to she-on-whom-I-have-had-a-crush (etc.) a few hours ago. I should come up with a nickname for her, but I'm not sure I'll need one, now.
I had intended simply to ask a follow-up question to our conversation on Monday:
Going back to the conversation we had about exclusivity in relationships, nearly two years ago, what led you to ask me about it just then?
I was hoping to create a further opening for conversation, exploring the history of our relationship to one another, so far.
Having created that opening, I proceeded to charge into it.
I told her that, when she asked me, I nearly fell out of my chair. Not only had I only recently decided with Vix to open our marriage, but I had to try not to jump to conclusions about her reasons for asking. I thought she may have just been curious, or that she had discovered something about me. I tried very hard not to hope she was trying to find out if I might be available.
I told her all this, today, in my note. But that was just the beginning.
I decided to come right out and tell her that I have long had a crush on her.
Vix thought my way of putting it was too much, and I worry she may be right. I did go right on to temper it, though. Here's what I actually wrote:
This is the really hard thing to confess, the personal matter to which I alluded in my last note: I was then, and still am now, struggling with the fact that I have a singularly strong crush on you.
That's an inadequate word for it, crush, but it's at least in the ballpark. There's something about you that seems to have captured my imagination, and the strength of the connection has defied all my efforts to suppress it.
Really, I just like you a whole awful lot, and I'd like to be closer to you than I am.
I hope I've been doing at least an adequate job of concealing this from you, but I doubt I've been all that successful.
That I am very powerfully drawn to you is, really, my problem; I wanted very much not to make it your problem, especially when you were still a student. My sense of professional responsibility is strong enough to hold me back from acting or speaking inappropriately . . .
Even now, though, the main thing that has held me back from saying anything is that you were once my student. When I think about this from your point of view, I get creeped out on your behalf.
I mean: older, married professor! [Shudder!] That's almost a textbook case of creepiness.
I've long thought that if I were to confess any of this, you would either laugh or run away. That's why I've been so tentative about asking you about having lunch with me; I keep worrying my attention to you will earn your ridicule, creep you out or scare you off.
Perhaps because of our conversation Monday, I've come around to the notion that the best thing I can do is just to confess the fact of my feelings for you, if only so they become less important. I keep reminding myself what a crush is really worth: a crush and $2.50 will get me on the train.
For the record, $2.50 is the current, one-way fare for mass transit around here.
I went on to say that I was writing without any particular hopes or expectations . . . except the hope that my confession won't do more harm than good, driving her away from social contexts of which we are both part.
If you're just not that into me, that's okay. Just tell me so, and I'll finally be able to put this crush to rest, once and for all.
I just want you to know that I like you a lot, I respect you a great deal, and I am open to whatever kind of relationship you and I might develop together.
I left open the possibility of just having lunch once in a while, to talk about work and common interests . . . or of relationships even more minimal than that.
In whatever context, though, I told her I'd always be glad to see her.
So, there you have it: the full record of my folly.
I felt a rush of relief when I hit "send" . . . but my misgivings are catching up with me.
(And, yes, I can still hear some of you laughing about my skewed sense of risk.)
I really hope I haven't done unnecessary damage to my friendship with her by confessing so much. I only hope I framed it all in such a way that she will feel free to respond in kind, with honesty . . . whichever way that happens to go.