My real first kiss is not the sort of thing memories are made of - at least not the sort of memories you want to keep around. The First Kiss, the one that I hold in my mind and memory as the first time I was ever properly kissed, followed some time later.
“Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.” ~The Princess Bride
Somehow I managed to reach Sweet Sixteen without being kissed - I'm not sure why, exactly, but it wasn't due to a lack of effort on my part. Socially awkward, that was me. Dropping social cues everywhere, morally conflicted between what my brand new hormones and my thoroughly instilled religious beliefs were telling me. As it happened, on the date of my sixteenth birthday I found myself on a bus as part of a school or church youth function - I don't remember which. What I do remember is that at the back of that bus, in the dark, in the middle of a crowd of laughing teenagers, I kissed two boys as part of some sort of coming of age ritual.
These were not memorable kisses. I wasn't particularly enamored with either of the boys in question, and they were certainly not enamored with me. In fact, the whole experience left me wondering what all the fuss was about. During the next year or so I engaged in attempts to find out. There were several kissing episodes that I can remember, all of which left me a little confused, thinking that kissing was just not all it was cracked up to be - another of those life disappointments I was discovering.
And then I met Mr. Dreamy.
He was older than me by several years. He was hot. He drove a nice car, and he drove it fast. He had a real job, and was far removed from all of the high school drama, which made him fascinating and oh so much more interesting than the boys I saw every day in class. I was half in awe when he began to take an interest in me.
We hung out, casually, for awhile. And then he invited me to the Banquet.
This is a concept that I expect will require some explaining. I grew up Seventh Day Adventist, and went to a small Adventist school in a small town. We didn't believe in dancing - so no Homecoming dances or Proms for us - but the need for some sort of date related activity was recognized, and we had Banquets. I'd been to several of these, with boys I liked, boys I didn't like, and sometimes with no date at all.
This time though - this was special. Mr. Dreamy picked me up. The corsage he bought was not the half expected carnation, dyed in an attempt to match my dress. No, this was a lovely little corsage that had actually been ordered specially from the florist. For me. All of that evening I felt special; every touch, casual or otherwise, set my heart to pounding.
By the time he drove me home and walked me to the door, I was head over heels in love. And when, just inside the front door, he cupped my chin in his hand, smiled, and kissed me - ah, here at last was the answer to "what is all the fuss?"
The angels sang in that moment, the world stopped spinning, all things that ever were or would be centered on that moment, and the touch of his lips against mine.
It was a romantic first kiss - gentle and sweet and just a little lingering. Later, he would teach me the intricacies of kissing and the pleasure of what a tongue might do. Not now, not yet. Only lips, and that warm hand cupping my chin. Oh, the racing heart, the weakness in the knees, the belief that I would love this man forever.
Of course that didn't happen - there have been plenty of other kisses with plenty of other partners in the years since then. But I think of him sometimes, and hope he is well, and happy, and has someone who loves him. I owe him, for leaving me feeling like this: