Thursday, October 16, 2008

The First Kiss

Ah, the first kiss.

If you read enough fiction, you know that this electric moment when lips meet is the most important moment in the whole story. The first kiss is when the electricity starts to crackle, the blood begins to surge, and these two people realize there's something deeper going on. Sure, they might not know each other, or maybe they don't even like each other, or the set-up for the kiss is forced and contrived ("Oh no! My old boy/girl friend is coming! I can't let them think I'm available! You! KISS ME!"), but it's that moment that boils down to a physical love at first touch upon which the whole rest of the book is based. And frequently, girls who grow up and find their true love still fondly remember their first love, their very first kiss. It's a moment that lasts a lifetime.

It's a damn shame it doesn't work like that in real life.

My son is three and a half, and I know he's had at least four serious girlfriends. The first was High Maintenance Girl, but she moved to Arkansas. Then The Girl Next Door, but he moved into an older class and met The Tomboy (my favorite one so far - takes one to like one), so The Girl went on the back burner. Then The Tomboy's mom decided to stay home, so the next best available choice was The Princess. The toddler and the Princess were real tight for a while, but The Girl Next Door recently graduated up to his class, so he's back in a love triangle of epic toddler proportions. Tuesday on the playground, The Princess seemed quite miffed at him. It may be over. Or not. All may be forgotten by next week.

And I can't help but wonder, how many of these girls has he kissed? I know I'll never find out, because he won't remember.

I certainly will never remember my first kiss. The only reason I know it took place is because my mother has photographic proof. The story has far outlived the experience.

Here's what happened. I was two - towhead, quiet, and fond of exploring the forest we lived in. Timmy was two, too. He had reddish hair that curled. My parents were good friends with his parents - our fathers taught at the same school. His parents may have even been my godparents there for a while, but I'm not sure about that. In any respect, our families were close. And I just know that our mothers were hopeful that the family bond would only grow with time, much as I thought it would be nice if The Tomboy, whose dad raised horses, would be a nice addition on a permanent basis to the family. (And yes, I'm embarrassed to admit I see weddings for kids who are two and three. I'm a mother. So sue me.)

So one bright, warm day, Timmy's family came over to hang out. There was probably a barbecue going, and beer around, but that's not what concerned Timmy and I. No, what had our attention were the sandy dunes exposed on the hills behind my house. See, these sandy dunes were a popular night spot with the local frog population looking for love, and frogs aren't too focused on birth control, if you get my drift. So there were easily hundreds of little froglets - no more than half an inch long, if that - hopping all around in the moist sand, testing out those new legs and lungs they'd just grown.

See? See how I'm not a normal girl? I was back there with Timmy, grubbing around in the sand for slimy frogs, for crying out loud! The Princess and High Maintenance Girl would have run screaming! (The Tomboy would have been fine. Not sure about The Girl Next Door.)

Well, I wasn't having any froggy luck. I couldn't catch those squirmy little guys for the life of me (another future indicator - not graceful or smart enough to outwit amphibians with a brain the size of a pinhead). And then, according to my mother, the magic began.

That's right. Timmy gave me one of his frogs.

These days, I expect something more along the lines of diamonds, or at the very least chocolate, but I was two, and Timmy had me at "cchirrrrrrp!"

So I kissed him. And my mother had a camera.

And the story has never faded from anyone's memory. Anyone's, that is, but mine. I don't think Timmy remembers it either, but in the few times we met at social events as we grew up and our lives went in drastically different ways, he always looked just as uncomfortable around me as I felt around him. I always got the impression that before my family showed up anywhere his family was, his mother rehashed the tender, touching frog scene for him. Each and every time. I've heard it so many times that, as you can tell, I can tell it like I do remember it, but this whole thing is my mother's story.

And can you imagine? Having to learn about your first kiss from your MOTHER? Luckily, mortification is a pretty natural state for me. Like breathing air.

There were other first kisses. Playing house at daycare lead to a lot of kisses, not just for me, but for just about every kid there at some point. It's true there was a really long drought between about first grade when I discovered boys had cooties and maybe ninth when I realized they didn't and my father unchained the lock on my room and let me out. (TOTALLY KIDDING. Dad's Great! And he survived raising three daughters, God bless him!) There were a few boyfriends in high school, and The High School Sweetheart. Maybe three boyfriends in college, none in grad school, and then I met my hubby.

Frankly, his first kiss is the only one that matters anymore. The rest just wash away into the absent-minded stream of my brain, never to be seen again.

Except for the one my mother keeps framed on a desk.

The first kiss. For a frog.


lucylucia said...

My first kiss was in the 8th grade, and I scraped his tongue with my teeth! ha!

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Were braces involved? Didn't just about everyone have braces back in those days?

lucylucia said...

Actually, neither of us had braces. I was able to dodge that bullet, thankfully.