She was a beautiful mess in a pretty sundress. Bright floral print and provocatively translucent. Short enough to tease urges from lingering winter hibernation. And just long enough to project modesty.
Freckled skin smelled of girly things. Hair spray and perfume; make-up and lotions. All those mysterious concoctions that boys just don’t understand. But to which they find themselves inexplicably drawn. Like horny moths to the gleaming heat of a summer porch light.
Her imperfect beauty clashed with his ramshackle presence. A worn t-shirt advertising his favorite fictional band. Sneakers more holes than tread. Sunglasses hiding eyes that went to sleep smoking. And woke up on fire.
She smelled of flowers; he smelled like the streets. That odd mixture of cigarette smoke, sweat, and sticky car exhaust. Her fragrance sprang from a place of endearment; his odor was born in the slums of hustling, just trying to get by.
Somehow, they complimented each other.
He liked her laugh; she was drawn to his words. Because the writing was sharp and daring. Printed sins and pouty stories pinned on the page for the whole fucking world to read. And, she admired him for his bravery.
The fearlessness in which he bared his soul was attractive to her. He never shied away from the truth as he understood it. Only embraced the ridiculous. And somehow, managed to weave tender connections with only his typewriter.
Because like her, he just wanted to be loved. He used that word often. But never properly understood it. Because it always ended up misapplied and stunted. Twisted somehow into something it never should have been.
He had lived under the shadow of that disparity his entire life. There was never a time he was actually wanted. He was instead always seen as an inconvenience. Never rising very high on anyone’s list of priorities. Always the afterthought.
With her, he wondered if it would be different.
Because hers was a different prison. One far more comfortable and safe. Some might have even been jealous of her station. But it was just papier-mâché. A fanciful crust covering rotten layers underneath.
She found herself reading his words more often. And then rereading them. They kept her company at night. After the scheduled deed performed in the most expeditious manner.
A smaller man was between her legs then. But that hardscrabble writer with a pocketful of dreams–and not much else–was inside her head. And, inside her heart.
That mattered the most. And, she dreamed about him.
Correspondence grew. Plans were made. A hotel was booked. They took advantage of the temporary sanctuary it provided. Because there is nothing wrong with taking the occasional vacation from your life.
Neither one of them ever expected it to stick. But it did.
More complications. Lawyers. Conversations that started early and lasted until the school kids walked by. It was a mess they had created.
But sometimes you have to make the noise. Because it was better than being invisible. And everybody deserves to be heard.
Even in the most infertile elements, love will find a way. He hated that cliche. And laughed when he wrote it. But understood its significance after a tender first kiss.
He trusted that the love was real. And burned down the world around him. Lighting the match most would be too fearful to ever strike. But he was bold. And did his best to outrun the flames.
Always running; always writing. Pushing things with the sheer force of his will across state lines. Just to be nearer to her when she would need him the most.
He’s still there.
If you drive down the dirty Boulevard at the right time of night, you might catch a glimpse of him. Out wandering the streets he has yet to fully understand. Still wearing that fucking t-shirt and worn out shoes. The only concession to the Capitol City weather the addition of a scuffed leather jacket, the collar turned up against the inclimate Mitten weather.
And some nights if you listen closely–and are lucky– you might even hear the clack of a typewriter two stories above all the traffic and congestion.
That’s just the soundtrack of a literary bad boy. Still very much in love. And still trying his best to keep writing the pants off of her.