My weekly interview with husband and fellow writer Chris Barton continues. In today’s blog posts, Chris and I answer the same question. But he started it.
Chris: So, I’m inspired by Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park (about which I’ll say no more because I know you haven’t read it yet), and I was wondering what you remember most about your first kiss.
Me: My first kiss occurred when I was in fifth grade. I was “going with” a guy, and he’d hinted that we were leading up to such a moment.
When I’d moved to Texas two years earlier, a different guy had asked me to “go with” him and my reply had been “Go where?” He seemed flummoxed and said, “No! GO WITH me. ” Again I asked where, and at that point I guess he felt I wasn’t worth it — being too stupid to figure out what he meant — so he asked some other girl who said “Yes.”
By fifth grade, at the seasoned age of almost-eleven, I understood what “go with” meant. Sorta. But I was a bit mystified as to what it all entailed. Basically we talked on the phone now and then and passed a lot of notes and tried to sit together at assemblies or music class. But then he asked me to go to the high school homecoming game with him, and I could tell that meant something significant.
I met him at the game and we sat with his older brother for a while not talking. He and I had not talked before, but this was a new sort of not talking. This was a nervous, leading-up-to-something not talking. And then he asked if I wanted to go down and get a soda.
As soon as we got underneath the bleachers, he beckoned me to a spot behind the bathrooms. I followed and the next thing I knew, he was kissing me. I was too distracted by bathroom smell, the ankle-deep trash, and the worry that I was doing it all wrong to truly enjoy it. Basically my mind was going “Wow. I’m kissing. I’m being kissed! Eew, what is my foot stepping on?”
After a while we returned to our seats and still didn’t talk much. I kept trying to convince myself that something truly remarkable and romantic had happened. Meanwhile he rooted for our home team — who lost, if memory serves.
He did not transform into a prince. I did not wake up from an evil spell. My lips were sore and I had gum on my sneaker. Two weeks later, we broke up.
First kisses are memorable, but the truly magical ones are the first ones (and second ones, and third…) that you share with the right person. That’s the stuff of fairy tales — even if you stand in garbage.