“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” ~Ingrid Bergman
She was right there, as it seemed she always was, within arm’s length but untouchable, at least in my mind. I knew how often I thought about her in that way, but I had absolutely no clue what ran through her mind in those moments when she looked at me the way she was doing right then. If I had known then that all she wanted me to do was lean over and let our lips touch I would have gladly obliged, but I was new to it all, the infatuation of the thing.
I was fifteen, and I guess I shouldn’t have been so naive about so much, yet there it was as bright as a Tucson day. And she was technically my girlfriend. I mean, we had said all the words we were supposed to say to each other, and we had spent some private moments together, but all we had done during them was stare at each other until I began feeling vaguely uncomfortable. I was fifteen, remember. She was younger by a couple of years, but it was obvious she had more experience in relationships, a fact that embarrassed me when I took time to reflect on it. And she had been waiting for that kiss.
It began innocently enough with a slice of pizza and a soda with two straws. She was as close as my reflection in a mirror; it was like we were breathing the same breath, me inhaling while she exhaled, and she was giving me the look again.
“Why don’t you ever kiss me?” she asked for the first time, never breaking eye contact.
“Is that what you want?” I asked in return, confused. She laughed.
“Of course, silly,” she answered, still laughing.
“How would I have known you wanted that?” I asked, focused then on her full lips.
“Well, duh,” she said. “You’re my boyfriend.”
That was the first time I had heard myself defined that way, and while the words were odd to my ear, they somehow fit as well. It was as awkward as two people could probably be in that moment when it all finally dawned on me at once. Then the mechanics of it all hit me head on like a mack truck following hard on the heels of my revelation. Then she licked her lips and I almost passed out. I leaned in, knowing it’s what she expected, what she wanted, what she needed right then more than anything. And I just hoped in that last second before our lips touched that I wouldn’t do it wrong, that she wouldn’t break off the kiss to laugh at me.
She met me in the middle, all coconut scented and soft lips, all eager and apprehensive at the same time, until our lips met in a slow dance, tentative yet forceful, a connection that tingled all the way down from my head to tips of my toes. I closed my eyes and melted into it, and opened them a minute later to see her staring at me with a different expression on her face. In that moment I wasn’t myself anymore. I was an extension of her, a burning coil of electricity plugged into a socket that kept me ablaze.
When we finally separated I gasped for breath, a drowning man knowing his innocence was gone, replaced by an anticipation for the next kiss.