Last Friday, May 26, was the ten year anniversary of my first kiss. At sixteen, I was a late bloomer.
I am a girl, so I remember these kinds of things. I remember that I had, after months of chicken-shit debate, made a $5 bet with a friend that I would finally kiss the object of my infatuation. I remember that I planned my outfit carefully: a blue and white shirtdress from dEliA*s, my brand-new blue Airwalk sneakers, my CoverGirl Lipslicks lip gloss. I remember looking at myself in the mirror before leaving the house with ridiculous gravitas: This, I remember thinking to myself, will change everything.
It wasn't a date, this kiss. It happened at a family gathering - our parents were friends, and we had over the years been forced into companionship through countless similar occasions. He was younger than me, but cocky for fifteen. We had been flirting steadily for a few months. He was an actor, had been in a couple of movies. He made my heart beat really fast.
Now I laugh, but that night I felt like a seductress in my Airwalks and Lipslicks. I remember playing with my food, giving him meaningful looks, twirling my unruly hair. When I was finished eating I put down my fork, looked pointedly at him, and told him I was going upstairs to his room. To this day I have not been so ballsy or breathless.
Up in his room, I waited, looking at his posters. He came upstairs a few minutes later, and we feigned interest in a photograph, making awkward conversation. I expected some dramatic build-up, some slow, movie-perfect moment of our faces moving closer and closer together, but instead he just kissed me, suddenly, mid-sentence. Like so many rites of passage, I barely remember what it felt like, as I was so distracted by the realization that it had finally happened.
I never did kiss that boy again. It turned out he had a girlfriend, and it turned out that I had a lot of growing up to do before I'd be ready for anything more than kissing. At the time, I felt painfully inexperienced, but now I can appreciate a nice, slow bloom. I recounted this story to my boyfriend the other night, and when I finished he smiled, leaned over, and said, "Well, get ready for your 5,000th." He kissed me, and this time, I remembered all of it.