Heidi is an attractive Danish woman of 24, a mixture of shyness and tomboyish behavior; slim, blond, with an intense interest in the world. The interview took place in her house in Copenhagen, in the fall of 1990.
Heidi: When I was thirteen I wasn't particularly interested in school, just going there like everybody else. I was a bit fast, a tomboy. I liked to party and have fun.
One day our teacher was sick and we got a new substitute teacher. She was cute and very charming; rather young too, at least in my mind. I think she was 28. She had a strong personality. The whole class talked about her; the boys were madly in love with her, and I fell in love with her too.
After substituting for us she was given another class, of retarded children with learning problems. Every morning I'd arrive an hour and a half before school started just to see her walk into the school yard, and say hello to her. I tried to be wherever I thought she would be. I knew I had to do something, so I made a plan. I became good friends with one of the retarded children in her class. We got along so well that the school asked me if I could help him with his homework. That was a good opportunity for me to get close to her, because I could go to the class when she was teaching them. We started taking the children to the park for their exercise.
I remember, sitting there as usual before school, waiting for her to come. She knew I was sitting there and waiting. She came through the gate and there was this big flagpole in the middle of the school yard. I was waving and saying “Hi!” She turned and looked at me and waved and kept looking at me while she was walking on. And so she walked right into the flagpole. And broke her glasses! It was funny, but it was also important to me because it was a sign; it made me realize that something was going on also for her.
I had an hour off in the middle of the day and that is when, almost every day, I went to the park with her class. I would put my arm in her arm, or we would hold hands. Then one day in the park, when the kids were playing soccer, I don't know how it happened, we started to hug. That was wonderful, I felt very good about it.
I made sure we saw each other as much as possible. What I did, for example, was tell my history teacher that I had an awful headache and asked if I could go for a walk. Then I would go to the class where she was substituting and she would tell the children that I had been bad in my own class and she would let me sit an extra hour there. We would flirt a bit. She'd walk over to where I was sitting, stand behind me and put her hands on my shoulders looking at my work. She would say “No, that is not the right way; you can do it better like this.” It was a way for her to show me that she liked me. It was exciting, because nobody else knew and we shared a secret. Teachers in Denmark are not allowed to have relationships or anything like it with the pupils outside school, so we met in the school building or in the park. Not just in the classroom though. There was a school recreation room where there was a ping-pong table, and billiards. We met and talked together in a corner, even holding hands.
Sometimes I bumped into her during the day. For instance, I would go upstairs to the bathroom and then by accident she would come upstairs too. I was the chairwoman of the student council and I made sure I always had something to do in the teachers' room. I'd stand around while they were drinking coffee and she'd come up to me and talk to me a bit and touch my arm or my shoulder. Not much, just a little. I could feel that she also wanted to be with me, which was a wonderful feeling.
By final exam time I couldn't concentrate at all. I was dreaming about her. I saw her everywhere; I couldn't think of anything else. During the math exam I took a compass and scratched the first letter of her name in my hand. It's still there, you can see it when it's cold. I was so in love with this woman! I told everybody I was in love with a teacher and all the other students tried to figure out who it was, all the men's names that started with “E”, but they couldn't find out. She knew, of course.
One day when I had gone to the park again with her and her class, we started hugging and kissing. I think she started it but I didn't say no. I had kissed boys, but I was never in love with them. This was totally different. I was in love with her, so it felt much more intense, more exciting, because it was so secretive. We were in a public park and somebody might see us. The kids might come running over any moment. We were hiding behind a tree, kissing. It was exciting, but also a little scary. I had this strange feeling in my stomach I didn't understand or know what to do with. But it was wonderful to be so close to her, to feel her body and her warmth. To hug and be hugged, and be touched by her. It was all physically exciting. I wanted to be close to her. But I never thought about having sex with her or anything like that. That was not what was going though my mind.
The hugging and kissing also meant that we had moved to another stage in our relationship. The kids in her class knew about the hugging; we would hug them and each other, that was all right. But to kiss was something else. We became more careful, because we were afraid the kids would find out and scream, “They are kissing each other!” It went on for a couple of months. We wouldn't kiss all the time, but when we couldn't stand it any more we d hide in the bushes and kiss while the kids ran ahead.
During this whole period I felt a lot of excitement. I was so
attracted to her, I had to see her, speak to her. But I also felt good
about school in general; got to love it. Even when I was sick I'd go to
school in order to see her. I couldn't get her out of my mind.
Trust and Separation
I had a lot of problems at home at that time. She paid a lot of attention to me and took me seriously.
As I look back on it, I think that it was the fact that I could trust her and that she treated me like an adult, that made me fall in love with her. I needed someone to trust, somebody who did not treat me as a child. It's easy to fall in love with someone who gives you that. She was also willing to take a big risk because of me. I was a minor, a girl, a student. It was all forbidden. Her taking a risk for me also made me trust her. It made her special. She thought I was important enough to take such a big risk. We were very close, we were in it together and that gave me a strong feeling. The contact we had was special, really because there was so much trust. She told me about her life and she wanted to hear everything about mine. I told her about my problems, about everything. That's how she helped me.
Of course I knew I was doing something “wrong.” Not because I was underage, but because it was a woman I was in love with. That made it more complicated. It was why I felt I couldn't tell anybody. But I never felt guilty about it, even though I knew it was “wrong.”
One day, all of a sudden she told me she couldn't do it anymore. She was afraid the school would find out and she would be fired; that it probably was best for us to stop. I asked her why and she said it was too dangerous, she couldn't be with a student the way we were.
I was very, very sad; my world fell apart. I had been dreaming that she was also in love with me, and then suddenly she stopped it. I tried to get in contact with her, but she pulled away. So that was that. It was the biggest fiasco of my life. I thought to myself that it must have been only a flirtation for her. It hadn't meant enough to her for her to continue. But now, looking back, I realize that maybe it was not just a flirtation for her, the way I thought it was then. Maybe we had become too close and she didn't know anymore how to handle it. Maybe it had grown into something bigger and she wanted more, which was impossible with a student under 15. I don't know, we never talked about it again.
I continued seeing her in school and in a way I was grateful that I could still see her, look at her, know that she hadn't gone away or been fired. I did try to talk to her, when she had to correct my homework at home, I would write her notes.
But she never answered, she kept her distance. It was the fact that she broke it off so abruptly and completely that hurt me so much. She had been the light of my life and by losing her I had to go back to everyday reality.
It had been a wonderful summer and a very important episode in my
life. I had always had feelings for women, but through her I realized
that I might be gay. I had had such strong feelings, I hadn't slept or
eaten. It was so clear to me that I was in love, which meant to me that
I must be gay. After the fiasco with her, for about four years I had
boyfriends. What was left if I couldn't get her? 1 didn't want to get
hurt again. Then, when I was about 18, I made a clear choice for women.
Looking back, I think I would have liked to have had sex with her. At that time it was not the most important thing for me. I don't know how much I knew about sex at the age of thirteen. I think I would have been afraid—afraid, that is, of not knowing how to do it or how to do it right. I had read about sex and heard about it on TV. But to actually do it? On the other hand, she was so gorgeous, it would have been wonderful if we could have been close, to feel her without her clothes. She meant everything to me. I really regret that we didn't do it.
I did masturbate, while imagining being with her. I would build up stories in my head when I masturbated. Before I met her it had been fantasies about anonymous women, somebody without a head. After we met I would think about her; my anonymous person had a face. I felt closer to her.
The other side is that maybe it was better that sex didn't happen because of the mess it might have caused. I already had enough problems with my parents and if they had found out we were having sex, it would have made things more difficult with them; for me and for her. She might be fired.
I wanted to take the risk, and in fact I did take some risks, like kissing in the park, and hugging. But nothing more. I was too frightened to go further. I didn't know whether I was gay or not. I tried to talk to my mother a bit about being in love with a teacher without telling her whether it was a man or a woman. She was nice about it. She said it was normal for kids at that age to have feelings for a teacher and she told me that she had been in love with one of her teachers, a woman. And that it would pass. She never knew though that it was a woman I was in love with until just a short time ago. I told her now, because we were having the interview. She was surprised I had had these feelings for women at such an early age. She had always thought that I had become gay when I was 18 even though 1 had told her that it had started much earlier. She never wanted to hear that, and I think mothers in general don't want to hear that kind of thing. She had the idea that something had to happen to become gay, like being seduced by another woman; that I had had a weak moment and a woman had come by and seduced me. She couldn't think of me as the seducer.
It is amazing how much this teacher meant to me and how strong the memories still are. I saw her again about six years later. I went back to school one day to say hello to my old teachers and I saw her. I just saw her; we didn't talk at all. I thought, is this the woman 1 had been so much in love with? Was this the woman I had all these fantasies about, was this my dream—princess? I still think of her sometimes, still have loving sexual memories of her. If I met her again today, and we talked, I don't know, maybe I would try to come on to her; to get to know her sexually, since I am still very curious. We would talk and get to know each other, talk about what had happened and, well, who knows? Today it wouldn't be forbidden; I'm older and out of the closet.
I have also been asking myself whether the teacher seduced me, but she didn't. She didn't have to say much to encourage me to come on to her, and she certainly didn't have to do much to get me to hug her and kiss her. I would have loved to have walked hand-in-hand with her in the streets and have our arms around each other, to show the whole world that I loved her and that somebody loved me.