''Can you see and hear me OK?'' I said for atleast the eighth time that day. I was talking into my laptop.

This was in Thailand, where I had moved after college to teach schoolchildren during the day and, for extra money teach English online to Japanese and Korean adults in the evening.

I had hoped my student would cancel, but here he was. He looked to be about my age, 23, with a handsome, gentle face.

Soon he was talking excitedly about his master's degree in corn. ''Corn is everywhere,'' he said. ''It's part of everything. Even your clothes!''

I was expecting to have to fake laugh a lot during the 25 minute lesson, which I do to ensure good ratings, but he was genuinely making me smile. Most of my students were Japanese businessmen who said mundane things like.'' My hobby is watching movies.''

''Can I ask you something personal?'' he said.
''Sure,'' I assumed he would ask if I was married, a common question in these conversational lessons.
Instead he said,'' What is love?''
''I have no idea,'' I said. ''Do you?''

Ignoring the confusion on my face, he kept going : ''People are like corn. We have to harvest and and give attention to our love every day in order to improve or it will die just like the corn. So I think love is about effort.''

His question opened our lesson into a world I had never entered with my students; we strayed beyond suitable topics into real life. It was the first time I dropped the fake smiles and professional reserve and was simply myself.

A few hours after the lesson, I received a message from him : ''You have a beautiful soul. ''This wasn't the first flirtatious message I had received from a student, but it was the only one about my soul.

I decided it wasn't appropriate to respond. Not only because it is against my company's policies to talk in this way with the students, but also because I wanted to play the cool card. Instead I waited eagerly for him to take my lesson again.

One week passed, and still I had not seen him. I worried he had stopped taking the course, which was inevitable for most students at his advanced level.

Another week passed, and still no sign of him. I tried to bring that kind of excitement to my other students, but the conversation fell flat. Once I tried asking a student what he thought the meaning of love was, prompting a confused stare. I didn't ask again.

''I can't take your lesson again,'' he said. the clock was at two minutes and forty seconds. I knew I needed to see him again, but also, being a rule follower, I was anxious about breaking my company's policy.

''My yearly subscriptions ended,'' he said. ''I saved the last lesson for you, but now I'm stopping the course.''
He looked down. Two minutes left.

''You can't stop,'' I said. ''Your English isn't good enough.''
He smiled. We both looked disappointed.

One minute left. I felt a crushing feeling in my stomach. This one minute could change my life. ''Do you have Facebook?'' I said, knowing I could be fired for asking. Every session was recorded.

''Yes, I do.''

When the session expired, I checked my Facebook. Nothing. I checked again after 30 minutes. still no new friend requests.. I tried to distract myself , but every 10 minutes I reopened my app to check. At midnight, I gave up and went back to sleep.

The next morning - still nothing. Our connection was so intense, he must have felt it. No way he agreed to add me on Facebook out of politeness.

After a busy afternoon of teaching [checking Facebook at every break], I went for a run. A few minutes in, my phone buzzed.
''Hello,'' he had written with a smiley emoji. ''It's your new Korean friend. Nice to meet you.''

His writing was so shy and formal, something I wasn't used to.
''Hi!'' I wrote. ''It's your new American friend. What are you doing?''

We exchanged niceties until he asked if he could call me. I accepted and was happy he seemed interested in me.

Our video call lasted for three hours. I felt I needed to share my whole life with him. the craziest part was we had no common interests and no similar hobbies, but it didn't matter.

Our minds were synchronized. He said, ''Maybe we were learning the meaning of Love together.''

The honor and serving of this beautiful story, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Mackenzie Scibetta, from Gainesville, Fla, where she teaches English Language online.


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