Cricket just keeps providing us with interesting prompts. If you haven’t yet, you should give Slice Of Life a try. I am really enjoying it.
One of the prompts this week is – first kiss.
Oh, boy, this took me back……
I had two first kisses but the first one didn’t really count. It was with Robbie McDonald when we were both six and we kissed because Robbie thought it was the only way to make a wish come true. And Robbie had lots of wishes he wanted to come true, including a wish for a puppy called Pip that would love him best of all and one of those necklaces with the peace sign that all the hippies wore.
Our kiss was more of a peck and a giggle because despite his need for lots of wishes to come true, when it came down to it, Robbie was very embarrassed by the whole thing; and I had heard that kissing someone in a romantic way without being married to them was a surefire way to get to Hell fast. So the kiss was over before it had begun.
Turns out kisses didn’t bring wishes after all. Turns out Robbie had misinterpreted something his sixteen year old brother had said : ‘A kiss is like a wish come true.’ Turns out I wasn’t quite right, either, for neither Robbie nor I went straight to hell.
The next ten years was a bit of a drought when it came to kisses from the opposite sex. Lots of cute little ‘I Love You’ notes were exchanged, many he likes you or she likes you conversations were had, but it wasn’t until I was sixteen that I ever realised what a real kiss was like.
His name was Peter Brooks. He took me to the end of year dance, but he wasn’t the one that kissed me. Peter Brooks was shy with girls – everybody knew it. But he was a genuine, straight-up nice guy, so many of the girls considered him a catch.
His best friend was the school bad boy – Johnny James. Johnny was very much a love ‘em and leave ‘em type – sullen, uncommunicative, downright rude – so obviously, the object of every girl’s affection.
Johnny James and I hated one another. He had stolen my chemistry assignment from my desk, rewritten it and handed it in as his own work. He had gotten an A while I , in my haste to redo it and get it in on time, had done most of the equations wrong and ended up with a C minus.
‘I’m going to get you, Johnny James,’ I said to him one afternoon outside our lockers. ‘I’m going to sort you out for good.’
I almost didn’t go to the dance with Peter because of his association with Johnny James but in a perverse kind of way I hoped it would piss Johnny off. So I agreed.
Midway through the dance Peter asked me if I’d like to go out and get some fresh air. I knew what he meant to do and I was ambivalent but I thought it was probably about time the drought was broken.
Johnny James was in the garden drinking vodka straight from the bottle (even though it was an alcohol free dance). For some reason the sight of him alone, drinking in the cold night air, tied my stomach up in knots.
‘Here come the lovebirds,’ he sneered. ‘The perfect little couple.’
Peter ignored him, it was his way of dealing with Johnny’s moods. When I look back Peter ignored Johnny a lot.
Peter took my hand and led me further into the garden. He tried to kiss me. It was a kiss shaped by its extreme awkwardness. Noses, chins, elbows, all ended up in the wrong place. I remember there was a bit of drool but not much else.
‘You’re never going to get anywhere kissing her like that.’ Johnny James emerged from the shadows like a creature of the night and kissed me firmly and directly on the lips. It was a kiss memorable for its simplicity, it didn’t mess around, did what it was supposed to do. Its effects were long-lasting. I was transformed, awestruck.
Peter punched Johnny in the nose. There was blood. I cried. Johnny swore. I mopped up the blood with the tissues stuffed into my bra. Johnny saw me pulling them out and didn’t laugh, just gave me that look of his that said :’Why are you bothering with that?’ And that was that -the moment, the pivotal moment when I fell in love with a bad boy because he saw me pull tissues out of my bra and didn’t laugh.
Johnny and I went out for a year. He thought I was Emily Bronte. I thought he was James Dean. In our Senior year he moved to Melbourne because his Dad died and he and his Mum went to live with his grandmother. I never saw him again, my beautiful, surly bad boy. I might not recognize him if I saw him today in the street, but I will never forget the night he gave me my first proper kiss.