24th April 2014
Dear Dr. Green (or would you prefer Daniel?),
This is your admirer - given your astuteness, you’ve probably guessed my identity. I’ve decided to start writing you a series of letters to quell the loneliness I feel, now that your lectures on Thursday have ceased. And I promise not to let these missives turn into out-and-out pornography. I’d imagine that would soon become tiresome.
Anyway, I’m not sure what to do with myself now that my support work assignments have finished. Going into work has given my life some purpose - I see it as an important part of my identity. I’m sure it’s much the same for you, in spite of all that mock-bellowing at your students. I did find that amusing - and in fact, I still do.
So, until the next academic year begins, I’ll be looking for some summer work, maybe volunteering with the police - AHA! Didn’t expect that, did you? Also, during the upcoming month of May, I’ll be acting as an invigilator for various exams at the university, so perhaps I’ll see you around. In any case, I plan to spend as much time as possible in the Business and Law building to increase my chances.
I’ve been seeing you around the Business and Law building a lot more recently. That time on the stairs, that other time when you passed me on the first floor, dressed all in black… True, your office is located on the ground floor, but until a few weeks ago, I barely saw you at all. And now we just keep bumping into each other.
Don’t worry, I’m not accusing you of stalking me. If you’d like to extend me the same courtesy, that’d be great.
Oh, incidentally, you might have been given an amateurish sketch of your good self. I drew that and left it outside your fellow economists’ offices instead of reading Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies. I know that sketch isn’t very good; I have two much better ones in the back of my sketchbook, but in the interests of not stalking you, I’ve chosen to hold onto them for the moment.
Be honest, is drawing the object of one’s affections charming or creepy? You can tell me. I won’t take offence.
Anyway, that’s about enough for one letter. I’ll go and type this up and send it to you. Or I might hold onto it in the interests of etc. Not sure yet.
Hope you have a pleasant and productive week,
Your candid admirer.
P.S. I know you look good in black, but you shouldn't wear it in sunny weather. You'll just end up overheating that way.
1st May 2014
Dear Dr. Green,
It’s been eight days since the last official lecture. In that time, I’ve obeyed all the rules I set myself. I haven’t approached your office, and I haven’t entered the Business and Law building unless I was passing - that way, I could justify it. From your point of view, it’s perfectly plausible that I might have some business being there. Surely some students are still having lectures, and still require support from me.
I’ve only glimpsed you once this week. You were wearing a suit that made your neck look even longer and thinner than usual. This is by no means a bad thing; in fact there’s something strangely provocative about it. When you walked by, did you see my heart thudding in my throat? I’m sure my adulation must be so transparent to you, although you’re not in the habit of sharing your thoughts with me.
Remember that penultimate lecture? I was wearing that deliberately eye-catching floral blouse and red lipstick. You paused next to my seat on the fifth row, raised an eyebrow at my incomplete diagram, and that’s when I told you I was a support worker.
Your response? “I know.”
I pressed on. “I’m not a terrible student, I promise.”
“I know.” Smirking, “You’re not terrible.”
And I smiled back, delighted. Deliriously pleased that you had spoken to me. Again, I’m sure you noticed. You notice everything, but never let on.
If I could go back in time and say anything different, I’d probably want to know how long you’d known I was a support worker. Had you known from the very beginning? Had you only realised during that same lecture, when you stood behind my seat and peered over at my notes, prompting me to crane my neck to look at your upside-down face? That’s a moment that features prominently in my fantasies, by the way. I wonder if it sticks in your mind as well. Did you see how large and round my hopeful eyes were? Did you see down my blouse?
I’m sorry. I said I wasn’t going to send you pornography, and already here I am, drifting into purple prose. My apologies.
Anyway, I have found it a little tricky to get by on my dwindling work assignments; it feels like a starvation diet. Although I have all the time in the world to seek out employment for the summer or focus on my hobbies, I find my thoughts are occupied by memories of those lectures we had together.
So far, I’ve been a good girl. It must remain that way.
Hope you are well,
Your candid admirer.
8th May 2014
Dear Dr. Green,
Here is my third letter! And the time away from work has been nightmarishly dull and unfulfilling. Though I have tried to fill my time by devouring books of an academic nature, I find myself unable to concentrate or even motivate myself to read and digest any new information. I won’t lie to you - the main reason I started to study Phil Thornton’s Brilliant Economics was on the off-chance that I could impress you with my knowledge. Now I can see that this is a lost cause.
I refer you back to the final lecture we shared. You were, at this point, aware that I was a support worker, and more importantly, I knew that you were aware. That day I had on a burgundy blouse that matched my fingernails, which was actually a happy coincidence, and I had just attempted to take down your diagram of a monopoly something-or-other. You approached as I gave a helpless shrug.
“I think I’ve got this wrong,” I said.
You examined my diagram. “It’s not wrong,” you said, “it’s just confusing.”
You did explain why, but having not been present for the original lecture, I didn’t have the necessary context for this revision lecture that might have allowed for a better understanding, and thus, a better drawing. Put simply, I had no idea what you were talking about.
You then reached across me and borrowed my ruler - an embarrassingly girly pink thing with my name printed on it several times - and drew the diagram more accurately. You opined that I probably wouldn't be much good on the economics module. I meant to take issue with this, for the reasons already outlined in this paragraph, but at the time, I agreed with you.
Once you’d gone, I took a photo of your handiwork - I was quite excited that you’d not only spoken to me, but left me with something that was yours - created by you. It was wrenching to have to hand over those notes to my assigned student (initials J.L.), but I still have that photograph on my mobile phone.
Have you ever read Charles Dickens’s short story, ‘The Signalman’? I confess, I’ve only seen the thirty-minute film adaptation, during a creative writing lecture, but something about the story stuck with me. More frightening to me than the concept of any spook or spectre is the nature of the eponymous signalman’s daily duty. He has so little to do, but so much responsibility for it. All day in that cabin of his, the man sits, waiting for the signal, and tries to fill the hours by reading various textbooks. He is, by his own admission, no scholar - he has acquired so much knowledge and yet has no way of putting it to use. I bring this up because his lifestyle is comparable to mine. In my line of work, taking notes in the lectures, I may pick up a great deal about law, criminology, architecture, sports coaching, and even economics, but what can I do with this knowledge? Nothing at all.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I have a feeling you don’t think very highly of my profession. You think of me as technically useful, but also unfulfilled, alienated and even simple.
I just want you to know - I am smarter than I look. If only you could come to appreciate that, you could stop thinking of me as your subordinate. We’re both people, and we both have a job to do.
I hope you’re enjoying your break from lecturing a bunch of uncommunicative first-years.
Your candid admirer.
15th May 2014
Dear Dr. Green,
Right now, you are going about your daily life, oblivious to the fact that I am writing you these letters. I have not sent you a single one… yet.
The reason for this is fairly straightforward - if the contents of the first letter displeases you, there is a good chance you will ignore every subsequent letter from me. So I have chosen to send each letter to you in a single envelope, and you may read them at your leisure, in one siting. I will also include the sketches, of which there are now three. I hope you will take them as a sincere token of my appreciation. They are not intended to intimidate or scare you.
Here I have another confession to make. You are not the first lecturer to whom I have been attracted. In fact, between the months of October and December, I nursed a heady crush on one of the law lecturers, Keelan Morgan. You might know him - he has rimless glasses and a pronounced stutter. I’m afraid I let myself get carried away, not only drawing him several times but also posting said drawings under his office door. I also called his office phone in order to hear his voice on the answerphone, and even found out his address, visiting on two separate occasions - just for a look around, mind you, not for any sort of confrontation.
But by the end of the month, I realised I had gone too far, and posted a note under his door promising to stop, which I promptly did. You might say I was afraid of what might happen. What I might have become.
There have been other lecturers I‘ve been drawn to, but you don’t need to know their names. None of them made me feel the way you do. None of them so intrigued me and teased me. I know that the time you leaned over my seat and made me crane my neck was a deliberate bit of power play on your part. So was the time you corrected my notes, using my own stationery. Unlike the others, I’m sure you know exactly what you’re doing.
If you were reading this letter right now, you would indubitably start to wonder what I had in mind for you. All will become clear in time. But I cannot send my letters to you. Not yet.
Still hoping you have a pleasant week,
Your candid admirer.
P.S. I hope you don't have any pets. Keelan did and I'm afraid I'm allergic to cat and dog hair.
22nd May 2014
Forgive the casual use of your forename, but I believe now is a good time to assume some degree of intimacy. It’s been five letters, and we’ve got to know each other quite well. At least, you have got to know me; the walking enigma that is Dr. Daniel Green continues to perplex me.
What I neglected to mention in my last letter is that I have begun my work as an invigilator. It was a little strange the first time, and I was quite conscious of myself, marching quietly up and down the rows of students. But I got through it, imagining you watching from the far end of the hall, and under your imagined scrutiny, I conducted myself like a true professional. In the last week, to counteract the increasing boredom, I have been carrying out silent conversations with you in my head. This is a useful and enjoyable exercise, in which I question you about your work, and you, in turn, ask probing questions about my life. We have such riveting discussions, you and I.
Of course, this doesn’t compare in the slightest to the actual exchanges we have had. I’m willing to bet nobody has ever told you how commanding your presence can be. When you appear unexpectedly around a corner or on a flight of stairs, I feel such a torrid flush of hormones as can only be experienced by love-struck teenagers. That’s the long and short of it, Daniel - you make me feel like the teenager I never was.
It occurred to me the other day that most, if not all, the lecturers I have liked have been, in some way, physically inferior specimens. By which I mean: thin. Pale. Bespectacled. Soft-spoken or stuttering. Having small or crooked teeth. I wonder if I simply have a type, or if I am only drawn to these sorts of men because they are the least likely to pose a threat.
The fact is, I am terribly isolated and alone, and even a word from you or the others is enough to keep me alive, to keep me going and going and going…
I try not to think about this too much. All that matters is that I am a good girl and do not overstep the boundaries. I must not break the rules.
Hoping to see you again soon,
All my love,
Your candid admirer.
29th May 2014
There are no Daniel Greens listed in the phone book, which does not surprise me much. It makes sense that such a prominent academic as yourself would wish to maintain a private life. But some things I have to know before I send my letters - what kind of man is Dr. Green? Is he married? Does he live with his elderly parents? These are all things that I must keep in the back of my mind as we continue to talk and our relationship grows ever stronger. One day, you may invite me to your house, and I would feel much more confident if I knew what I was walking into.
Of course, you would never have to know that I had carried out any prior research. This would just be a means of boosting my confidence.
As I was saying, there were no Daniel Greens in the phone book. But fortunately, I am registered with a site that provides me with the address and background information of anyone I choose - for a small fee. Now I see that in the local vicinity, there are two D Greens listed, and several Daniel Greens with different middle initials and age brackets. I have narrowed it down and I have a list of about four or five Daniel Greens. It will take a while for me to individually visit each residence, but I will try the two D Greens first, as I don’t have to pay for their addresses.
Naturally, in the interests of not stalking you, I will visit each address in full disguise, so that I am not recognised and will not raise much suspicion. There has always been a clear purpose to the rules I set myself, whatever they may be, and I wish to ensure that throughout this whole process of me getting to know you, nobody should feel uncomfortable or intimidated.
Anyway, you must be wondering how things are going. This being the final week of May, I will soon be finished acting as invigilator. Now I have all summer to wait until I can return to the university, to my job, and to your economics lectures. The days will seem like years until I return, and you may rest assured that I will keep you in my mind and heart no matter what happens.
Think of me fondly,
All my love,
Your candid admirer.
5th June 2014
It took a while, but finally I found you! Actually, the first time I crept up to your house, in my ginger wig and faded tracksuit, you were outside tending your flowerbed, and I had to swiftly retreat in case you saw me. But my journey was not wasted - far from it! Now I know that you tend flowers, and live in such a fine-looking, yet small abode, that you must surely live alone! Such a valuable piece of information, and nobody can take that away from me.
Oh, Daniel, it has been agony to be separated from you - to be separated even from the chance of seeing you at our place of work. To keep myself going, I have had to listen to those audio recordings I made in one of your lectures. (I took these recordings on my mobile; as a result, they are all in three-minute chunks that I cannot link seamlessly together.) I only have two photographs of you, which I had to take sneakily in the lecture, pretending to check my emails or some such nonsense. Even those photos are substandard, and make terrible reference images for my sketches. Also, I could only find two pictures of you online, as you have no social media accounts - in fact, you barely have an online presence at all! You don’t make this very easy for me, do you? This must be another aspect of this game you like to play - this wielding of your power over me - and I love to play your game, Daniel!
In the course of conducting my research, yet another thought has occurred to me. Sending these letters to you now will give the game away - but I can surely deliver my sketches to your door and leave them there for you to find. This will add another layer of mystery to this game we’re playing - after all, if I planted the sketches in your office, it would be easy to deduce that they had come from someone else at the university. But planting them on your doorstep would widen the field of possibility - anyone in the country could have put them there!
Remember that lecture back in March when I was wearing my low-cut green blouse and that perfume with a slightly musky edge to it? I was nearest to the front, so the class register had been passed to me - you collected it from my desk personally. Later on, if you recall, you took a look at the diagram I couldn’t have known how to complete. Whether you knew my identity or not, your response was arch and slightly mocking - “Not a bad start, I suppose.” It made me laugh, and I almost told you what I was. But I didn’t. And from that moment on, the very idea that you might have mistaken me for a feckless student began to eat me up inside.
But now we know better, don’t we?
I am so near, and yet so far from you now, and the summer stretches endlessly on. The prospect of attending your new lectures in September seems desperately remote, like a desert horizon. But one thought sustains and revives me - the thought of seeing you again. I will no longer live in isolation. I will have you - whether you know it or not.
Until we meet again,
All my love,
Your candid admirer.
P.S. That dog of yours has got to go.