I’m Rachel Farrell. Maybe you know me, maybe you don’t. Maybe you and I had sex at the Tannersville Ramada Inn when I was your reading teacher at Bangor Area High School, back when you were seventeen and I was twenty-six. Ringing a bell? Hot interludes in the Walmart parking lot off Route 248 in Lower Nazareth Township?
If the answer is yes, then prepare to be disappointed. This is because I am not Rachel Farrell, sex offender, but Rachel Farrell, graduate student. I do not share a cell with Pennsylvania’s finest at Northampton County Prison; I live in a carpeted apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a town of poets and recyclers. Everyone rides a bike here in Ann Arbor. People are interested in MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Just yesterday I was saying to some transgender vegan friends of mine, “Hey, what’s the deal with Styrofoam?” and we organized a protest on a local convenience store. Had the store been open, they would have really seen we meant business. As it happens the owner is out with a back injury and his wife can only man the register during the hours when their baby is sleeping. But we’ll get them.
The truth is that I haven’t even passed through Pennsylvania since I was fifteen, back when my mom and stepdad insisted we drive from Florida to Maine to “see the whales.” We had dolphins and manatees at our doorstep, but my mother couldn’t rest until she saw these whales. So not only did Rachel Farrell, graduate student, not commit sex crimes in the Bangor Area School District during the five-month period between August 2010 and January 2011, she hasn’t even entered the state in almost fifteen years.
It’s true that like the Rachel Farrell with whom you may already be on familiar terms, the Rachel Farrell whose very boobs you may have squeezed in the gender-neutral restroom of a California Pizza Kitchen, I am a teacher. Heck, I even teach “reading” like your own Rachel Farrell, if “reading” can be expanded to include ENG125: Academic Writing & Inquiry, or ENG223: Introduction to Creative Writing. But never would I violate the sacred relationship between educator and student by going to bed with one, not even the hot ones that look like Zach and Cody. To be honest, I don’t even know my students’ names. All of them begin with a J so it’s hard to keep track. Jamie, John, Jessica. Who cares? I’m not going to sleep with any of them.
Further proof that I am not the Rachel Farrell whom you seek:
- Would Rachel Farrell, sex offender, be retweeting culturally-relevant and politically poignant posts from Ploughshares and NPR Books?
- Would Rachel Farrell, sex offender, be volunteering at the local community center every Saturday, teaching the homeless to throw clay onto pottery wheels?
Would Rachel Farrell, sex offender, have in her possession an oil painting of Jaden and Willow Smith?
- Would Rachel Farrell, sex offender, own seasons one through nine of Frasier on DVD?
The answer is no, because these lifestyle choices belong to another Rachel Farrell entirely—me. The Rachel Farrell who is not only not sleeping with seventeen-year-old boys now, but who never slept with seventeen-year-old boys in her life, even when the option was legally available to her. Okay, yes, is there a part of me that wonders, just wonders, what it would have been like if my high school boyfriend had not been gay? Is there maybe a part of me that wonders what it would have been like if he had wanted to touch my thighs or boobs? Yes, I think I can admit to that. We’re all adults here. But that was the past. Kenny is a grown-up man in a loving same-sex partnership in Tampa, Florida, and he is never, ever, ever going to sleep with a woman. Do you hear me Rachel Farrell of Ann Arbor, Michigan? He is never going to sleep with you and you had better just get over it before you do something crazy.