My posts as of late have been railing against negativity, centered on dark things. I thought I'd write something sweet.
It was Moonrise Kingdom that got me thinking of this subject. A young boy and girl, each 12 years old, stand on a beach. They kiss for the first time. It can be presumed that it is not only their first kiss with each other, but ever. It progresses to French kissing, because they want to try it. The girl notices something is “hard.” He asks her if she is OK with that. She says she likes it. On the surface this may seem creepy, or uncomfortable. It may seem “too much” for a scene involving 12 year olds. Wes Anderson makes it endearing.
Everyone has been 12. Everyone has had a first kiss where our body parts do what they do, through no fault of our own, outside of our control. At the time it is confusing. It is scary. Here we are with another human being, our bodies pressed together because our bodies are telling us to do so. It is the first time we feel that brand of warmth against our skin. It is not like the hug of a parent or sibling, because it is not merely affection and unquestionable love at work. It is pure desire from a place we do not yet understand. We do not even realize that we are putting our heart and worth in the hands of another person. In a blink they could just as easily nurture as they could destroy. It is exhilarating. Rarely do we get to relive that feeling.
The moments leading up to it, for me, were comprised of adolescent male desire and debilitating apprehension.
We were at a small gathering, watching a movie. I worked up the courage to ask the girl to take a walk with me. She accepted. There was an unspoken agenda that we were going to kiss. We held hands as we walked, and for the first time I felt the fingertips of a girl on the back of my hand that didn’t belong to someone walking me across a busy intersection. I remember trying to put our arms around one another as we walked – mine around her shoulders, hers around my waist – and how awkward it felt, and wondering how they do that in movies, because it felt so unnatural. We went back to holding hands. We got back to the house having not yet kissed. We stopped at the foot of the driveway. That unspoken agenda was yelling to both of us, “You are going to kiss, god damnit!” We decided to walk some more. But, I knew if we got back to that house a second time it would never happen. Before long that driveway was back in my view. It wasn’t 100 yards away, mocking me from the cul-de-sac. It was now or never.
I felt a surge of confidence that I had never felt before. I stopped and stopped her with me. We were facing each other. I don’t remember how it happened, but now her arms were around my neck, mine around her waist. Coming from a nearby house was the sounds of a TV show. We looked at each other for some time. Nervous and full of giggles. She had giant blue eyes that swayed from joy to vulnerability and a smile that seemed to start in her toes. Our faces were close (while I have since felt that proximity, I have rarely felt that closeness). One of us made a comment about the sounds of the nearby television. We pressed our foreheads together. It looked as if she had one giant eye in the center of her head. “You look funny from this close,” I said. We laughed. That’s all the moment needed.
Later, when asked if anything happened, I replied only, “Braces taste funny.” I was trying to be cool. But, I wasn’t cool. I was smitten. It was awkward and exciting and terrifying. It was pure and imperfect. It was everything a first kiss should be. It meant the world as few kisses do.