Grinning at me like the Cheshire cat, ten little 6-10 year olds stood around me– anxiously waiting for me to give out cooking duties. “Okay, let’s see here…you are going to crush the Oreos. You are going to mix the butter and sugar. You are going to…” (you get the point). It was a sweltering hot summer day, but inside, we stayed cool in the art room turned kitchen for a summer camp class. Only an eighth grader at the time, I volunteered to teach a summer cooking class with my favorite sixth grade teacher, but she kind of put me in charge of things.
As I helped the little ones mix the batter for our Oreo pie, I got some on my finger. Licking it off, I looked up to meet the eyes of a guy that didn’t just make my insides melt, he set them on fire.
He was leaning against the door frame, arms crossed, with a side-ways smile directed right at me. He carried himself like he owned the room as he made his way over to me. Tan, fit, and with hazel eyes locked to mine. I felt myself turning five shades of red.
His smile got bigger. Pompous a**.
I turned my back to him and continued working with my students.
What is he doing here? This is a class for children! My first impression was that he wouldn’t be adept at working with children. One look at him, and he looked like trouble. Ripped jeans, messy t-shirt, disheveled hair, muscles that told you not to mess with him, and a face that scared me in two ways. One–because he was totally gorgeous, duh. Two–because of his body language– you knew something dangerous lay therein.
Ten minutes later, most of my kids were cozying up to him. What the hell? Hey, hey kids! Back to me! I could not believe my eyes. There were kids next to him, by his side, on his lap–all fighting for his attention. Part of me was jealous. Another part was enamored by his charm.
All the girls started making the top layer of the pie with me, while the boys fixed us up some snacks.
As the girls worked on one side, and the boys on the other, we talked to our own sexes. But, from a small distance, I listened in to the conversation on the other side.
“What’s her name?” He asked.
“———, but we call her Ms. ———.” Me. He’s asking about me.
“Oh, yeah? what is she like?”
“Not the kind of girl for you,” said the little boy without a breath in between.
“She’s a goody-two-shoes,” said the ten year old boy. I could not believe my ears. Though I had heard those same words out of the mouths of my peers.
“She’s too good for you,” answered another boy.
“Probably” he said sounding glum. I felt my heart jump in my chest. Looking at him, our eyes connected. We stared at each other for a long while–whether it was seconds or minutes, I am not so sure. Time was irrelevant.
He later introduced himself, using all his charms, of course. Standing a foot taller than me, he bent down to shake my hand and bring his face closer to mine. Everything about him was enticing. His name, his smell, his voice, the way he looked at me, the way he smiled at me, and the way he said my name.
When he left, he looked back at me. I blushed, yet again–this time, feeling embarrassed for being caught staring.
I found out later that he was my teacher’s son.
I thought I would not see him again.
I did. One year later.
But he was trouble. He smoked in the school bathrooms, drank, was arrested multiple times, and got into fights on a regular basis. He also had “fun” with so many girls that he was not sure of the actual number of girls he’d had fun with. I naively thought I could fix him.
We dated. If I had to sum up our relationship in one word I would say: exciting. Because, most of it was exciting. My heart was always on-edge, like my mind. Everything was spontaneous. Nothing was responsible. But being with him got me into trouble. Sometimes, I felt unsafe. Sometimes, I felt disrespected.
As he got f***ed up at his house, he tried to pressure me to do things my 14 year old self never did nor wanted to do. He got suspended from school regularly. He had anger issues and starting punching guys for simply looking at me. He made me feel like an object. He made me feel like trash.
I told myself I could do better. My teacher, his own mother, told me I could do better. I did do better.
Point is: Some things are the way they seem, but not everything is the way it seems.
I can happily say that I am much happier today with the love of my life (who is not him). However, I wish the guy well. A few years ago, we ran into each other. He was going into the army. I hope he continues to do well.
I’ll never forget his first impression, because he made me feel so many emotions. You’ll always remember how people make you feel.
Some of the things I judged him on were correct, and some were completely wrong. Give people a chance to prove themselves to you. A first impression is only a small preview of that person! And sometimes, that first impression barely reflects who that person really is.