On the first day of class I noticed her immediately, her bright brown eyes, set a little too far apart, her freshly scrubbed skin. Of all my students that semester, she was the most beautiful, and at that tender age when youth informs womanhood, imbuing it with a radiance that lasts only as long as innocence, and that is never very long. When she first looked up at me she smiled, and I knew then and there that she believed I was her savior, that I would be the one to raise her up, from the mundane to the divine. I knew at that very moment that I had become her confidant and brother, her confessor and father, her trusted guide through and around the thickets of a dark and disturbing world, a world overfull with the remains of half-eaten prey, and shot through with the watchful eyes of half-starved carnivores . . .
When she spoke, she would raise her arms up in expansive gesticulation, then let them fall upon her meaty thighs, silken and bare beneath her cotton skirt. The flesh of her legs would shimmer in vibration, and I had to struggle to look away.
It was not quite spring, but winter’s notion of spring.