This weeks prompt at Sunday Scribblings is First Kiss. I should point out that my piece is completely fictional and any similarity to persons dead or alive, including me, is purely coincidental!
It was horrid! I can still see myself trying to get rid of that kiss. My hand frantically rubbing my lips, my eyes squeezed shut as if the darkness might just persuade me that the last forty five seconds were part of a ghastly dream!
It was the laughter that made it worse. It still rings in my ears as I think about it. And when I opened my eyes I was surrounded by a baying mob of fellow first year boys and girls, their bulbous grinning faces leering at me as if viewed through a fish-eye lens. They were pointing with their fingers as they screeched with hysterical laughter.
Being twelve isn’t easy, is it? Especially not for boys. When I was twelve, preferring girls to football was a sign of weakness. A feeling best kept hidden! Because girls simply weren’t like boys. Their idea of fun was to experiment with their big sister’s make up, and stuff rolled up tissues inside their shirts to make themselves look more grown up.
It all started as a dare. If I carried out the challenge I was going to win an autographed photo of football icon Bobby Moore. The thing was, I had to endure a proper kiss with Brenda Braithwaite. By a proper kiss, I mean a long smooch on the mouth, eyes closed and (horror of horror) with tongues! I had no experience of kissing girls, the nearest I had ever come to it was the occasional reluctant peck on the cheek of my nasty cousin carried out at my mother's insistence.
Well, Brenda was a bit of a loner, something of an outsider. She tried her best to mix with the girls in her year but she was different from them and she didn’t really fit in. She took her schoolwork very seriously and was seen as a bit of a teacher’s pet. She played a violin and went to church on Sunday. She often read passages from the bible in the school morning assembly. Not just that, but she was fairly small for her age. She always reminded me of a mouse. She didn’t have whiskers or a tail of course but her freckled cheeks and sticky out teeth gave her the look of a cuddly toy rodent! She also wore a pair of those free spectacles provided by the National Health Service for kids with less than perfect eyesight. You don’t see them today thank goodness. They were perfectly round with lenses of varying thickness according to the degree of visual improvement required, and had thin wire frames and arms covered in black plastic for boys or pink plastic for girls. Hers were pink with lenses reminiscent of coke bottle bottoms and they made her eyes look too big for her head!
When she was picked out to kiss me as a dare, I'm told she jumped at the opportunity. Not because she wanted to kiss me of course, I’m sure she was as horrified at the prospect as I was! No, this was her chance to be accepted and prove that she was normal even though deep down inside she really didn’t want to be.
So there we stood, facing each other in the centre of a circle of our classmates. I was frozen with fear. She had the look of a startled rabbit caught in a cars headlights. It was then the chanting started.
‘Kiss, kiss, kiss’ they yelled as they clapped their hands and stamped their feet. There was nothing I could do. I’d passed the point of no return. Someone shoved me forward and I almost knocked Brenda off her feet. I grabbed her to stop her falling flat on her back and then went for it!
It was almost the longest forty five seconds of my life. Of course I only had Freddy Grimshaw’s word for it that it was just forty five seconds. However he was the official timekeeper and referee, and not someone you’d wish to disagree with. My last memory of that day was seeing a grinning Brenda staring at me with her glasses all skew-whiff on the end of her nose and her teeth-brace glinting in the summer sunshine!
Brenda Braithwaite’s father got a new job in London, and she left school at the end of the next term. I attained heroic status as a result of my bravery and as I grew older kissing became a far more agreeable pastime than kicking a ball around.
Fast forward several years. I'm at a very formal ball to celebrate my graduation from college. I was standing, resplendent in my black evening suit, at the bar with a group of fellow graduates. I remarked upon a particularly attractive young lady standing by an enormous aspidistra on the opposite side of the room. She looked fabulous in a slinky silver dress which reached the floor. The scene was reminiscent of a romantic thirties movie. She turned her head toward me as if in slow motion. My mates dared me to ask her for a dance, but this time it was a dare that needed no consideration at all. It seems she was presented with a similar challenge by her friends, and before I knew it we were walking slowly towards each other.
Without uttering a word we took our place on the empty dance floor as our two groups of friends stood around watching us. Quite what happened I don’t know. The seductive music and the happy chattering of the crowd seemed to fade away. Then we kissed! ‘Brenda?’ I said. ‘Shhh’ she went and we kissed again.
We have a daughter of twelve now. We’ve not asked her if she’s had her first kiss yet. If she has, then her chosen one is the luckiest boy in the school!