Kiss And Tell
YouTube emailed me the other day asking me if I remembered my first kiss. I’m not sure what the email was about or what it was trying to accomplish, but it did get me to thinking and reminiscing. What first kiss are they talking about?
- There was my very first “boyfriend” who I met in a karate class when I was an ass-kicking toddler. I use boyfriend loosely here; really we were just best friends whose mothers joked about us getting married someday. But if we want to get technical, the first time my lips touched another’s was during a game of hide-and-seek in his grandparents’ big old farmhouse. I rounded a corner, saw him standing against the wall trying to make himself invisible, when I quickly stole a peck. This was before I knew a kiss could be more than “I found you.”
- The first mutual, “I like you, you like me” kiss was in middle school. He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, bad boy. He had a mushroom cut: Nick Carter style. We had a song: “From This Moment On” by Shania Twain. We held hands on walks through the woods and had the official title of boyfriend-girlfriend that lasted a whole summer—quite the feat when you’re all of 13 years old. He asked me if he could kiss me on a camping trip our families took together up on the lake while the local band played on a wooden stage in the background. This was before I knew a kiss could be more than “I like you, like you.”
- The first butterflies-inducing kiss was in junior high. I was gone from the moment I saw him playing lead snare at a band competition in some hick town. Sawoooon. This was back in the days of intricately folded notes and subtle cues left through away messages. Work had to be done—hints dropped, looks analyzed—but eventually I got to call him mine. One of our first dates was “The Notebook;” 124 agonizingly long minutes of hands brushing and hearts pounding. After the movie was over, we sat on the curb outside of the mall waiting for his dad to pick us up. I leaned back, let my back meet the concrete, my head lying in the grass trying to calm my heart with a gaze at the stars. That was the moment he leaned over and kissed me. He taught me that a kiss could be a promise and a safe place.
- Fast-forward a few years and breakdowns later to a little college town. We’d been best friends for a decade but hadn't seen each other in months. I never liked that; I have a hard time with letting people out of my life. Even though it had been so long since we’d last seen each other, I had been confiding in you for a few weeks, opening up in ways I've never dreamt of doing. You were the first person I came out to. You were my rock. We finally saw each other in a crowded bar, surrounded by people I only half-knew but who you seemed to be the center of. You were happy. You were young. You had just taken a shot of something mixed with Bailey’s and walked toward me, invading my personal space in that way you know I've always hated but intoxicated people don’t seem to notice they do. You were begging me to smell your minty breath; I was begging you for so much more. You were the first game-changing kiss. You were the first "I'm finally not afraid to entertain the idea of spending my life with someone" kiss.
There have been drunk-in-a-bar-with-a-stranger first kisses and rushed-at-the-end-of-a-date first kisses. There were first kisses that have said, “I don’t normally do this,” “this means absolutely nothing to me,” and “I will never let you go.” There have even been a few of my personal favorites: “maybe I will be able to love again” first kisses.
Once they started to mean more and became more natural, I began to pay a little more attention to these first kisses. Because that’s what we writers do; we remember every painstakingly vivid detail of what was said by whom, where, and how. We remember the tone of their voices, the shaking in our own. We remember the dim of the lights, the music that was playing; there’s always music playing and the lights are always dim. We replay these scenes before falling asleep for nights, weeks, and months on end, strategizing ways we can recreate them, willing ourselves to do so if only in our dreams.
One day I’ll have that last first kiss; the one that says “I’ve finally found you” and “I like you, like you.” It’ll be a promise and a safer place than anywhere I’ve found roaming this earth. It’s going to be a game-changer unlike any before and will show me that those other loves were simply amateur. Until then YouTube, the question isn't whether or not I remember my first kiss(es); it’s whether or not I’ll ever be able to forget them.