Sunday, January 19

First Kiss

My students just finished writing a collective dating guide with accompanying narratives.  [The irony wasn't lost on them: that the people in most need of dating advice [them] were the ones proffering advice, and etcetera.]  The pieces I've read thus far are real gems, though.  

To help them with their narratives, I wrote one of my own.  I narrated mine and Conlin's first kiss, in all its awkward glory.  While reading it in first period, one of my students continuously muttered, "Make it end...oh, please just make it end..."  

So, here it is.  
*My vanity would like it noted: this is a rough draft.  I know there are wordy patches and the ending's slightly rushed...I did that so my classes could walk through the revision process with me.  Not that anyone cares, but, vanity.  You know.


“No, this trick won't work... How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?”
I thumbed through various DVDs, offering suggestions over my shoulder.  “The Count of Monte Cristo...Lord of the Rings, never seen that, actually...The office.  Huh, The office?”
Conlin, the corners of his mouth upturned, shrugged.  “Sounds good to me.”  
As I fumbled with my parents’ all-too-complicated sound system, Conlin plopped onto the nearest couch, a well-cushioned brown mass that had witnessed previous pseudo romantic movie moments.  On paper, this scene was no different from past movie nights I had undergone over the years: boy, girl, DVD.  Except for this: I couldn’t breath right.  Something about Conlin made the air catch in my throat.  
Aiming for a nonchalant air, I sat down next to him and stealthily swiped my sweaty palms on the couch cushion.  He smiled at me and nodded toward the screen.  “I’ve only seen a couple episodes.  You’ll have to fill in the gaps.”
“That I can do.” I replied.  
A couple minutes into the first episode, Conlin placed his arm on the couch backing.  Just close enough to taunt me, not close enough to touch.  If I only leaned back a couple inches, we’d collide.  I focused on my breathing.  Then, gathering my wavering courage, I leaned back.  Contact.  Conlin’s head twitched in my direction and then returned to the show.  
If the next few minutes were captured in a time lapse, it would probably have looked like this: my hand is placed neatly on my knee.  Conlin’s hand moves to his knee.  A few frames would capture our hands nearing.  Eventually, hand-holding.  (Not captured: sweaty palms). Conlin’s free arm remains on the couch backing for two frames.  Conlin’s arm then wraps around my shoulders.  The next frames catch barely perceptible changes: hair falling slightly, subtle smiles, eyes shifting.
Once we touched, we hardly moved.  We were afraid of disturbing the position so much juvenile maneuvering had made happen.  We hardly moved, that is, until The Terrible Thing Happened.  
The episode we were watching ended.
As the sound petered off, a heavy silence settled.  Finally, I sighed.  “Another episode?”
Conlin affirmed and I got up to start the DVD.  
Were we a normal, well-adjusted couple, this disruption would have been a minor glitch, hardly worth noting.  But we both seemed to have missed the training in junior high where you learn how to initiate cuddling.  
So, when I returned to the couch, where do you suppose I sat?  Against Conlin, my hand in his?  Perhaps with my head on his shoulder?  
Or a few inches away, with zero contact.
I sat down, the space between us glaring.  My seat selection yelled of a sterility I hadn’t intended.  
Over the next few minutes we participated in the same slow-moving cuddling ritual: painfully inching toward one another.  
            Ah, young love.
            After a couple episodes and numerous attempts to stifle yawns, we glanced at the clock.  2:07 a.m.  Time to call it a night.  We ambled upstairs, slipped on our shoes, and walked out to his car.  
            Our goodbye ritual was about as suave as the one used to initiate cuddling.  A half hug and small, incoherent small talk.  My house sat atop a steep hill.  From our position we could see the back windows of a neighbor's house, brightly lit.  I smiled, looking toward the house, and began, “We used to sit up here and watch Lisa, our neighbor, dancing in her livingroom.  She’d really go for it when no one was home.  Pretty sure she didn’t realize-”
            I didn’t see it coming.  
            It was a split second.  Spectators might have missed it.
            But I sure didn’t.
            Conlin, demonstrating surprising initiative, had swooped in, quick, and planted a kiss right against my teeth.  



  1. Started stalking your blog after we ran into you the other day. This was adorable, I laughed out loud at least three times. Hope all is well!

  2. looove!
    you, my friend, have a lovely relationship with words.