This is Julie Rafati.
She is the woman in the pantsuit standing in a lecture hall that seats eighty-five. The woman talking about the basic principles of macroeconomics to a room full of teenagers. The woman gawked at by many of the libido-crazed women and men who aren’t listening to a word she’s saying.
But we cannot see inside the mind of Julie Rafati. She is not a mind in which this story can view, and unfortunately that means we can only be passive observers to the action that follows.
Despite that, we can know these things:
Julie Rafati, born Julie Khatree, is from Augusta, Georgia. Her parents run a hotel.
Julie is adopted.
Julie is twenty-five years old.
Julie has been married to Delta Rafati for three years, since February 2020.
Julie is an Economics professor at San Fransisco State University.
Julie’s favorite film is Mystic Pizza.
Julie’s favorite video game is Gaia Online.
Julia’s Deviantart username is TrintyxOfxWonder.
With those things in mind, we can watch as she teaches about the concepts of supply and demand, as she draws a crude graph on the chalkboard and as students copy that graph down onto their notebooks (the ones not distracted by staring at her, that is).
Her teaching is effective. The students paying attention understand easily. They figure out what she is trying to say and even how real-world examples can apply. She talks about the pandemic a few years back and how prices fluctuated rapidly based on these very principles. The students feel satisfied, and their minds grow further attuned to the modern world.
Even when this class is held at eight in the morning, the students are still engaged. They’re still energized enough to learn and grow in ways that will prepare them to take advantage of life in the real world, for a career they do not yet have.
And when it’s over, the atmosphere in such a classroom remains quite pleasant, and persists throughout the day. Julie teaches two more of the same class, going over the exact same subjects, and they go exceedingly well just the same.
Julie keeps a smile on her face throughout. It may take a few cups of coffee for her lessons to stay as consistently fast-paced as they are, but the happy expression never fades, not until she is back in her office, sitting at her desk and reading through her print newspaper. Only then do the ends of her mouth finally turn downwards.
It has been a long day for Julie, but at 2 PM her classes are finally done. She sits in for office hours, which no student has scheduled her for as of yet. It doesn’t seem likely that one will show up...
Which, of course, mean that one does. It’s Amanda Yates, a sophomore who is already quite well-known around campus for her diligence, sometimes in negative ways by professors who are subjected to her inquisitive visits and relentless pursuit of top grades.
“Professor Rafati?” Amanda asks with two taps on her already-open front door. “Are you in?”
“I’m in,” Julie says, beaming with a smile. “What a pleasure to see you here today! Come in.”
Amanda comes in, but does not sit at the chair that is in front of Julie’s desk. Instead, she stands, posture tall, with a piece of paper in her right hand. “I need to talk to you about this essay.”
“Oh, what is it? You know, I really enjoyed that piece. You certainly understand the concepts of the free market in a way your classmates really haven’t reached yet. I almost want to poach you for an Economics major one day, if you’ll think about it.” Julie laughs softly. “Oh, but I guess you’re dead set on that PoliSci degree, aren’t you?”
“It’s not...” Amanda grumbles something unintelligible. “I’m trying to figure out why you gave me a 93. What did I do wrong? How can you justify taking off seven points? You didn’t write any criticisms on the paper, so how am I supposed to know?”
Julie clasps her hands together. “Amanda, you’re a good student.”
“Th-thank you, but...”
“Why don’t you take a seat? You’re getting too worked up.”
Hesitantly, Amanda sits down, though she keeps her posture up straight. “Professor...”
“Your paper isn’t perfect. In fact, nobody’s papers are perfect. There’s always problems that you can learn from to fix your content and research for next time. College is all about these learning experiences.”
“We both know that’s not what college is about,” Amanda says. “We both know it’s an exercise of corporate America to shackle young people with debt and to instill conformist liberal ideas in impressionable minds as a requirement for getting a decent job. It’s not about learning. It’s about money.”
Julie laughs, hands still clasped. “Oh, Amanda. You really are a PoliSci major. Why don’t you go relax at home and come back tomorrow? You look so stressed out.”
Julie’s tone is sweet and calm, but Amanda’s grows increasingly at edge.
“A 93 brings my overall grade down, Professor. I need...”
“A 95 is nothing to sneeze at. You’ll be fine. Better than fine. You might even win some scholarships if you apply.”
Suddenly, Amanda’s posture relaxes. She leans in close to Julie’s desk. “I get what this is all about. I know why you gave me a 93. You want me to ‘earn those bonus points’ by coming in here and sucking your cock. Is that what you want? Because I’ll do it. I’ll report you to the board, but I’ll at least do it first.”
“But I don’t have a cock.” Julie leans back in her chair and unclasps her hands. “Amanda, I took points off because you repeated yourself in redundant paragraphs that only existed to push the pagecount further. And because you changed the margins to 0.9 inches on all sides. I always take two points off for that last one.”
“Why don’t you go home and have some dinner, go out with some friends, get drunk on vodka sodas, and we’ll both forget about this conversation?”
“I...” Amanda gulps. “I don’t have any friends yet. And I’m only eighteen.”
“Well, I wish you good luck in finding friends and a fake ID.”
Without another word, Amanda stands up and leaves Julie’s office.
Julie’s smile remains for another fifteen seconds, and then it goes away once again as she returns to reading the newspaper. It doesn’t return again until she looks at herself in the bathroom mirror at home, a few hours later.
A faint pink can be seen in her otherwise red hair. Her roots are growing back in. She pulls out her phone and immediately schedules an appointment with her specialist hair stylist for a coloring. After that, she continues to look at herself in the mirror for a while, testing out different kinds of smiles she can use.
After that, she goes into her kitchen, empty and silent without her wife around, and makes a peanut butter sandwich. Then, when she is still hungry after finishing it, she makes herself another.
With no notable programs currently airing on the summer season of TV, and especially nothing airing now in the late evening, Julie ends up going into her bedroom and turning the rest of the lights in the house off.
She gets out her laptop, opens up her web browser, and scrolls over to the bookmarks folder labeled as “Research Documents 7/2018.” In there, she peruses the various items of interest, whether that include two men, or two women, or potentially even a combination of three. But before she can decide on an option, she receives a text message.
It’s from Delta, her wife of three years who is currently going on an adventure with her best friend Francis and someone who Julie has never met. Julie sees the message and on her face appears a smile of a very different sort from usual.
Delta: hey julie
Julie: Good evening, darling. :)
Julie: How are you doing?
Delta: we just got to paso robles today
Delta: kinda weird place so far
Delta: whats up w you
Julie: Oh, nothing special. I was about to watch some porn.
Delta: oh cool
Delta: right now im watching this movie called chasing amy, you ever heard of it
Julie: I can’t say I have.
Delta: its pretty good
Detla: kinda weird but its a kevin smith thing
Julie: I never really liked the guy’s work.
Detla: clerks is great though
Julie: Well that’s your opinion :)
Delta: i love you
Julie: I love you too, Delta.
Delta: you know what, dont watch porn just yet
Julie: And why is that?
A few minutes pass and Julie waits for a response. For a moment, it appears as though Delta has fallen asleep or something like that, but finally Julie receives a few new messages, all of them pictures.
Pictures of a certain type that were obviously shot with a sense of artistic ambition with interesting angles, even if they did not necessarily succeed.
Delta: how you you like them
Julie: They’re wonderful! :D
Julie: You haven’t sent me any of these since I moved to San Fransisco. It’s been so long!
Delta: yeah bringing us back to the good old days
Delta: weve done this shit before
Delta: we know how the game rolls
Julie: Yes. It may be lonely for a little while, but I’m going to be very happy to see you return.
Delta: yeah me too
Delta: i love you so much
Julie: And I you.
Julie: I can’t wait to start a family with you, Delta. :)
Delta: yeah i guess we didnt finish that convo did we
Delta: well im still thinking about it and idk still yet but
Delta: i know how much it means to you so maybe we can do it
Julie: Yeah. It’ll be great.
Julie: Are you feeling well?
Delta: uh yeah i guess why
Julie: No reason.
Julie: As for myself, I’m feeling great. Especially after your message.
Delta: make good use of those photos
Delta: and send me some but i wont get to use them for a bit
Julie: Duly noted!
Delta: k see you
Julie: Good night.
That certain smile stays on Julie’s face the rest of the night and into the next morning.
We cannot see into Julie’s head. We cannot say for sure how she is feeling. So this smile is all we can use for evidence.