My partner was a bad boy when I met him 19 years ago. He was a bad boy when we broke up a year later. He was a bad boy 8 years later when we met again and fell madly in love.
I think I was always in love with him, even though as a 15 year old that’s hard to realize.
I remember the first time I met him and his mess of a head of hair, dark, dark brown half ringlet curls, half dreadlocks. And when I was close enough to him for the first time smelling his hair, the smell of his skin, sweat and soap and deodorant and smoke. And even closer to him, nose to nose, his hands in my pants, mouth on mine, kissing me just like I’d always imagined kissing was supposed to be like, looking right into the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. Dark and light green with flecks of what has to be the finest gold on the planet. Inky black lashes framing them, dark heavy eyebrows above that making them all the more noticeable.
He was a skateboarder (bad boy) and he smoked cigarettes (bad boy) and he already had a swagger. He liked me though, really, really liked me. He smiled his crooked smile showing his one slightly chipped tooth…his top lips have two peaks, almost sharp and they’re not quite full but just right. Sometimes when he’s thinking his mouth opens slightly like he’s struggling, something is on the tip of his tongue and he’s just about to say something. This happens a lot when he’s playing the guitar.
Deep inside though he’s not a bad boy in the least. He’s filled with self doubt and speckles of self esteem issues. I remember being struck with total surprise at finding out this, how shy he really was, how the confidence on the outside was more just a side effect of being a teenager, of being a skateboarder. He had to be outgoing to find people to skate with, he had to be confident to jump off of stairs or over some huge obstacle, he had to have some front and some game to get a girl.
But on the inside he always thinks people don’t like him, even when it’s obviously not true. He’s suspicious of people’s true intentions and has a hard time initiating contact with anyone. I have always considered myself special because he let me in and let me love him and see him for who he really is, shared with me how he feels about everything. Sometimes I see it as a burden, loving the bad boy who is not really bad at all, sometimes I see it as a gift, something I have been blessed with. How lucky am I to have a man with the most incredible intensity, the most confident hands, the most broken disposition, the most improbably sexy demeanor…
And the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.