The first one
My first kiss stunted me for 2 years. It wasn’t just a kiss. It was 13 years leading up to it and unrealistic expectations and butterflies and the giant looming question mark in my head when I wondered where I was supposed to put my nose. I googled it. How to kiss. There was no real advice beyond preemptive tooth brushing and not bumping heads.
My partner did not read that article, though.
On the day of the kiss I saw him in first period and at lunch. My girlfriends elbowed me and giggled and I avoided getting too close for fear that I might chicken out if given the opportunity. Then school dismissed for the day and we poured out towards the buses. I rounded the corner and there he was perched on a railing in all his cool skater style glory. His friends stood around him in a semicircle, waiting. My friends stood on either side of me, pushing me forward. He cooly threw another oreo cookie in his mouth and tossed his hair back out of his eyes. He was freckly and beautiful. He looked me straight in the eyes and smiled then jumped down off the rail and led me away amidst squeals and whispers.
And then he turned to me and went for it.
I used to always get in trouble at church because I couldn’t keep my eyes closed during prayer. It seems like the most obvious time for the enemy to strike if you ask me–right when the whole congregation shuts their eyes for a guaranteed amount of time. Ninjas could move in, or worse. So when he came in for the kiss my eyes fluttered shut before my system overrode the whole thing and they opened just in time to see him coming at me with his soft blond lashes in the sunlight and his pretty tan and his puka shells and his tongue jutting out of his mouth like a stiff board and covered in black oreo cookie crumbs. I saw his whole mouth. The braces. The crumbs. The black spit. I saw it all right as it collided with my own mouth, my iridescent wet n’ wild lip gloss shimmering on my lips as they quivered in fear. I recoiled. My head flew back. Someone squealed again. It may have been me.
So that was my first and last kiss for two years. I feared it more than book reports, more than gym class on days we had to run the timed mile… Just the memory of it could bring back that very strange, very uncookie taste he left on me. It was a huge roadblock in my boy infatuation. I loved them. I couldn’t get enough of them. I just didn’t want to see their tongues in that much detail ever again.
When I did finally cross that bridge though, I did it with force. I was 15 and freshmen year had just let out for the summer. I made up for the two years that I should have been experimenting and went straight for the kill. We kissed. We swallowed tongues. We bumped faces. It was untraumatizing. He tasted good. Red slurpee and cigarettes and Kid Rock played in the background. Then I wanted to kiss everybody. It was a good summer.