I put this off for a couple of days because I
So rather than talk about my first love in great detail, I think I'll write about my first kiss. I hope that's not a topic for a future day. I'll warn you, this could get . . . raunchy. Or not, but I love that word and want to use it. See? It's even in a tag now.
Before I go there, you should know about my first boyfriend, too.
The Boyfriend I Had When I Was 8 from Mize, MississippiI don't remember his name. I don't remember what he looked like. This was an arranged marriage. Mom never quite noticed that I preferred reading a good book by myself to playing with other kids. And she certainly never accepted that I had no interest in boys. She came to me one day and told me that her co-worker's son wanted me to be his girlfriend. "Isn't that cool?" she asked.
"Why?" I answered. I'd never met him. He didn't know me. I wondered whether he liked books. I wondered if I'd have to kiss him. Ew. "What does he look like? Where does he live?" I wondered whether the ubiquitous "other kids" at school would torment me for having a boyfriend. Would it be worth it? In retrospect, I think I was an anxious kid.
Mom took me to visit him one day during the summer, and we rode around on his go-cart. I wanted to read, but he didn't. So I rode the go-cart and was surprised to discover I enjoyed it.
Stephen - First KissFive years later, thirteen-year-old me lived with Mom and Charles the Stepfather in a decrepit, converted travel trailer parked outside Mamaw's house in her large, circular driveway. We called my step-grandmother Mamaw. She made me nervous, looming over me tall and thin with a halo of iron-gray frizzy curls and her bulbous, beaky nose. Her belly bulged oddly out, permanently seven months pregnant. A cousin told me that her last child, my stepfather's baby brother, died in utero, but she never went into labor, and they never had the money for the operation to clean her out. I understand enough biology now to know this could not have been true. I did not understand that then.
We lived down the road from Missy Walters, who lived with her grandmother in a wood-frame white house. Missy was a bad girl with bad-girl hair, heavy makeup, and a little bit of a reputation. Missy's cousin, Stephen, enjoyed a bad-boy reputation. All the bad girls thought him perfectly dreamy. I didn't know he existed until Missy told me about him. Again with the books. She offered to set me up with him, telling me he was an amazing kisser. At 13, I at least had an awareness that I should be into guys, so I agreed. It would be a little longer before I found out that Missy should not have known whether her cousin was a good kisser. Yuck.
I don't remember much about him. He was tall, thin, and dark-haired with big blue eyes. We went to a school dance together; he had a Band of Merry Metalheads. They trailed him everywhere. I don't remember feeling particularly in love with him, although I doubtless had, "I <3 Stephen" scrawled all over my books and notebooks.
The dance, held in the gymnasium, I remember in shades of brown and gray. I'm sure they decorated the gym somehow, probably with black and orange streamers. I don't remember any food being there. We danced once. Someone turned on a slow song by Poison or Ratt or Motley Crue or some other suitably horrible hair band, and Stephen grabbed my hand, dragging me to the floor.
Slow dancing consisted of him arranging our arms around each other and swaying back and forth to the music. I concentrated on not stepping on his feet, farting, or swaying out of time. These are all pretty engrossing mental and physical challenges, so imagine my surprise when I found my face tilted toward his. All my attention was focused on my feet and my tightly clenched buttcheeks when Stephen opened his mouth and came at my face like a gaping, surpised catfish.
I didn't have time to draw back and barely registered an, "OHMYGODHE'SGOINGTOKISSME," before I found the lower half of my face engulfed in slobber and a thick, fat, wet something plopped lazily into my mouth. The something sat on my tongue, resting against the teeth on the right side of my jaw for what felt like an eternity while I tried to figure several things at once:
- What had he put in my mouth, and why was he keeping it in his, and how hadn't I noticed it when we went out to dance?
- What in the world should I be doing? And what if I farted now?
- When would it ever end?
I gave up the notion that I wouldn't step on his feet. I also gave up on keeping time in any way. I focused on not biting his tongue (what if I bit it off?) and not farting. Eventually, a lifetime later, he came up for air. I smiled weakly at him, hoping he'd been pleased with my performance. The song ended, and I excused myself to repair my lipstick. A week later, he dumped me. I correctly pinpointed our lackluster kiss as the source of his fading interest, and I set about correcting my perceived deficiency in kissing.
I did figure it out eventually, and I came to understand that Missy Walters was wrong. That boy definitely could not kiss.