Okay, so I admit it. I am infatuated with a guy at work.
Perhaps more aptly put, I am fascinated by him.
Or better yet, I am perplexed—and a little dismayed—by how fascinating I find him.
Granted, the human species in general has always captivated me. The complexity of the human mind and diversity among individuals is astonishing. Although psychology was a prerequisite college course for entry to medical school—and thus was required whether I liked it or not—it was undeniably one of my favorite subjects. So much so that I briefly considered a career in psychiatric medicine.
However, I quickly realized that physical ailments were much more easily corrected than mental ones. And I longed to be useful.
So I focused my attention on anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, et cetera. I didn’t exactly have what you would call an active social life in college—just enough of the appearance of one to present a “well-rounded” application to medical school. I had impeccable grades, so it was not a big surprise when several top schools offered me an acceptance. But I’ve never been one to seek out the spotlight, so I stayed as close to home as possible with the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to venture farther away. But my father is getting up in years, and I know how much it comforts him to keep me within close range. My older sister, Sabela, and I are his only personal contacts in this world. While I stay here out of a combination of love for my father and somewhat reluctant obligation, she does so out of pure compassion and selflessness. Fourteen years my senior, she is the most inspiringly caring and optimistic person I know—and without doubt the closest friend and confidant I will ever find.
So I stay here in New Mexico.
Even now, having completed my medical residency and fellowship several years ago, I remain as a member of the faculty at UNM. If I sound disappointed with the path my life has taken, I’m certainly not. I have a sense of purpose here. It isn’t a lucrative position, but one benefit of my father’s years of experience and simple life is that money really isn’t a concern. So I am free to do the work I enjoy, teaching future physicians and caring for less fortunate patients. I have found a niche here, and it gives me a sense of belonging that I hadn’t really known before.
The camaraderie that comes with enduring the grueling hours of medical training together has allowed me to form friendships with some of my colleagues. And friendship has always been difficult for me. Relationships (aside from family) have been virtually nonexistent in my life until recently—not because I am boring, obnoxious, or selfish (at least I hope not). My family has always led a somewhat reclusive existence, and I haven’t ever dared to break out of that mold.
Anyway, back to the guy.
His name is Eric Moran, and he is a Ph.D. candidate doing microbiology research here. As a specialist in Infectious Disease myself, I cross paths with him periodically throughout the week. That is, for the past six weeks, since he abruptly arrived on the scene in the middle of the semester. I am certain he was not here prior to that time, because I would undoubtedly have noticed. I won’t deny that he is exquisitely beautiful. But as much as his physical appearance appeals to me, it is his demeanor that intrigues me—perhaps because it strikes so close to my own.
He seems quiet, calm, reserved…Yet there is a glint of something brewing beneath the surface in his eyes. He always has an expression of careful contemplation, like he is distracted by something much more important than the subject at hand. When spoken to, he responds with a radiantly warm smile. Yet he rarely seems to initiate any conversation. The few times I have heard him speak, his words were sparse, yet intelligently delivered. As though he carefully selected each and every one.
Despite the appearance of shyness, there is an unmistakable confidence in the way he moves. He walks with a distinct purpose. And he seems to have no difficulty making eye contact. Not that I would know firsthand—I reflexively dart my eyes away when he looks in my direction…usually with the uncomfortable realization that I have been blatantly staring.
Which brings me back to his pleasant appearance. “Pleasant” is actually the understatement of the century. He looks to be about twenty-five or thirty years old, with an athletic physique that would rival that of a teenage track star (not muscle bound, just perfectly-defined muscle tone under his button-down dress shirt with casually rolled up sleeves). His skin is fair like mine—presumably from hours spent in the lab rather than out enjoying the sun—and it has a perfectly smooth texture, at least from the appearance of things.
I haven’t even come close to touching him.
We haven’t formally met, so there has been no opportunity for a handshake. And somehow I don’t think he would take too kindly to my stroking his face with the back of my hand.
He has dark brown, almost black hair, which is just long enough to graze the top of his shirt collar. The texture is fine, with a subtle wave—the kind of hair I envy. My thick, auburn hair would probably be stunning if not for the unruly, anything-but-subtle waves that send it flying in every direction. It has the look of perpetual bed head, even after meticulous application of product and skillful use of a blow dryer and straightening iron. Hence the ponytail holder that I might as well have surgically attached to my head.
How did I end up on this tangent? I have a tendency toward distraction, particularly when my hair is involved.
Anyway, back to Eric.
As I mentioned before, there is a thoughtful glimmer in his brilliantly green eyes. And they become that much more brilliant when he smiles. It is a smile that sends butterflies through my stomach.
Yes, I’ve got it bad.
I am hopelessly obsessed with a beautiful, intelligent, gentle, seemingly perfect man who is most likely completely unaware of my general existence. It is an altogether human emotional experience.
Did I mention I’m not human?…
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