First Kiss

By: Bela Johnson

Dec 14 2011

Tags: ,

Category: friends, love, Uncategorized

13 Comments

The lime green dress was right out of the ‘sixties, replete with woven bodice and sleeve detail like groovy guitar straps wrapped around my ribs and wrists. I adored it. Green flats were purchased to match. It was the eighth grade dance and I was free to attend, though afraid of towering over boys shorter than I at that age. (Not long afterward in our cultural timeline, the diminutive Dudley Moore made coupling with tall women not only acceptable but fashionable and hip.)

Not too long before, I had been separated from many of my childhood companions. It was not our choice so much as the fact that we were now divvied up and bused across town to our respective junior highs. Despite the awkwardness of being thrust into a much larger school with kids from all walks of life, it was an exciting time, too. And it was here that I made intriguing new friends that included a girl whose parents ran a burger joint across town. Having been raised in an upper middle class suburb, journeying to her tiny house in the heart of the city and eating at her parents’ corner diner were high spots of my teenage years. Slipping loose from what up until then proscribed physical boundaries allowed me a taste of unparalleled freedom.

I had experimented as most children do, in the context and safety of the familiar. I kissed boys I grew up with in the park, but that was childish, benign. I had in fact kissed a boy just a year before, at thirteen when our class went to Disneyland and I started my period in white bell-bottom slacks. That too was different, a dare of sorts, and my obvious discomfort at having to conceal my backside with a sweater lashed around my waist dampened any real adolescent thrill that kiss might otherwise have elicited. Up until then, I was still mistaking the fright of being discovered for the flutter of firsts.

An overdeveloped conscience, blessing and curse of a fundamentalist upbringing and heavy handed parents, prevented me from truly enjoying even the most innocent of burgeoning bodily sensations. I was, in terms of the times, uptight, though the upside was doubtlessly an effective form of birth control. After all, it was the ‘sixties – and free love proved never really free when pregnancy loomed large in the milieu of adolescent androgens.

And so it was then, and it was there – on a rosy chenille art deco sofa in Judi’s tiny living room – that I finally experienced my first real kiss. Sitting and waiting for my friend to rejoin me, furtive whispers in the background failed to warn me of impending revelations. Childhood chums gauging possible responses to bold maneuvers.

From behind, gentle hands cupped slender shoulders. Warm breath wafted into ears hot with discomposure. I like you. I really like you. Followed by the kiss.

This time, punctuated by profession of admiration, a languorous tender kiss brought prickles and heat, magic and mayhem, and I knew, though I felt much too awkward, confused and afraid to commit further to this boy’s gentle ardor, I would never forget it. Or him.

Thanks, Steve.

 

 

13 comments on “First Kiss”

  1. Just lovely, so perfect and i had to smile and cringe a little at getting your first period in white slacks.. poor you.. Thank goodness you had a sweater.. we have all been there.. your writing is so brave yet so empathetic, which allows me to empathise with it, which is wonderful.. c

    • Oh, Celi – I wish I could say it was embellishment to a story. But alas! Big, bright, bold red against white/white. I don’t remember if the sweater was mine or borrowed – something tells me it was lent to me – but I do remember the little machines with pads and belts and pins and that I was more embarrassed in a makeshift diaper than with blood-soaked slacks!

      Anyhow, thanks for reading, as always – and taking time for heartfelt comments. Blessings to you.

  2. You were in that lovely dress…while I was wearing Army surplus fatigues and chewing tobacco….( ;

    • What you did ‘not’ see was that I wore surplus store fatigues as well during those years when I could get away with it. We still had to wear skirts in school! And thus I gussied up for the school dance.
      Hey – I can totally see you chewin’ tobacco! HA!! 😉

  3. Bela, what a story!

    I love your descriptions and your critique of the emotions you were feeling.
    You’re right: there is a difference between your first kiss and your first REAL kiss.
    I responded to Harper’s post by telling of my first kiss, but not my first real one.

    Ronnie

    • Perhaps that’s wise 😉
      My first life was as a poet, so I tend to wrap such privacies in as much metaphor as I can muster.
      Thanks for visiting, Ronnie – and taking the time to comment!

  4. Thanks for the post. I am facing this soon with my girls in jr high!!!

    • Well, my girls are in their late 20’s early 30’s. I strove to raise them differently than I, and I think they appreciated the acceptance and openness with which we were able to face this awkward age together. I wish you well with your daughters!

  5. This is filled with such life, your post. What I like best is that you took time to thank Steve. That’s really, really beautiful.


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