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As I looked carefully at the beautiful porcelain pumpkins inside the card shop, on the cell phone I told him he was the scum of the earth. The colors on the pumpkins were subtle and gorgeous – orange can be offensive and embarrassingly tacky sometimes, but this one was not. “She thinks you are the scum of the earth and she always will”. I said about my sister who asked me some rather direct questions about my relationship with this married man while shopping in the new super-mall north of the city. “I fielded the questions pretty well – but I just hate lying to my sister.”

He defended that there are alternative explanations – and following your heart can bring you to some wrong places. Yes, it is wrong for us to be in this secret place together – the place following our hearts brought us to. I looked at a beautiful purple and orange vase – both colors I usually like least, but the artist crafted them to look stunning – making a perfect reflection in the fall sunlight. Everything got fuzzy for a while as we kept talking but I didn’t cry. I went to the coffee shop to build some blue marketing collateral for a school project in Illustrator.

“If you leave my life I will miss you,” he said gently when I got home – and I was lying in my bed looking at my white ceiling. We talked about my sister – and how protective she is of me. A few years back we didn’t talk for a year because she was so upset that I went back to my old boyfriend – even though he had a very bad temper. “I loved him and I did not want to leave him just because he had a fault. I had so many faults but he never stopped caring for me. Plus we had a lot of great times together.” But, his bad temper was a deal-breaker when it got physical – and one day I had to pile everything I had into a rental car and leave.

My sister was right with her black and white morality and my rainbow gradation morality seemed like a frill and not practical for real life. My sister thought I was crazy to have anything to do with my old boyfriend – but it was actually a nice part of me that cared for him so much – and truly believed he would change as he tried so hard to do.

Again – in the super-mall I was defending someone that I care for. Just a few days before I met him in his room while he was at a conference in a nice old hotel not far from where I live. I looked out the window at the bright green trees – he walked up to me, gathered me into his arms, brought me to his bed and we made love intensely while he fed me chocolate. Then we relaxed, I looked in his green eyes as we talked and joked while lying so closely together on the white sheets – holding hands. Not like the banker my sister set me up with – who watched The Gladiator as we had sex after drinks at a sports bar one night. He complained that I kept positioning myself wrongly for him – that I must have been used to someone taller.

What people say does not change my feelings for you.

I wrote to him.

I am four months away from finishing my MBA, I am moving into a new career, I am taking many things less seriously, I am learning new lessons: Love is never bad even if it is misguided. Love is a two-way street by definition – otherwise it is infatuation - if you think you have one-way love you are wrong. Bad things still happen – even when you try to be as good a person as possible. If no one knows, no one gets hurt – except for the people keeping the secret - and they know what they are getting themselves into.