I don’t remember what shirt I wore when I had my first kiss, but my blue flowered Hawaiian shorts meant to be jams, but—like most of my clothes—weren’t quite what they meant to be. My front pockets were stuffed with my skeeball prizes, and next to me stood my best friend getting her first kiss, too.
I don’t remember what she wore, and honestly I don’t remember if she was actually next to me or around the corner—only that she was nearby.
I don’t remember the name of the boy she kissed, but I remember that she saw him again whereas the boy I kissed never invited me over.
I don’t remember if I took off my glasses or if my self-cut bangs had grown out by then, but of course they must have, it was a year after I “fixed” them right before junior high. And that might have been the year I decided I didn’t “need” glasses anymore and stopped wearing them. Was it right before or right after I got braces? I don’t know why I picture myself as more awkward than I was.
I remember his tongue was hard and left no room for mine and it wasn’t at all like I expected, but it was a boy kissing me and I replayed it over and over the rest of the summer and I couldn’t eat because my stomach tightened every time I thought of him. We talked for hours on the phone every day but I always dialed the phone—he never called me. I don’t know if he would’ve if I hadn’t called first. I was too afraid to find out.
I remember the way the white china horse statue bulged in my front pocket—how proud I was to have finally won something in the arcade of value, and how awkward it was to carry around all day. I wondered if my pocket bulged and how sweet the boys were about putting it in a rented locker when we went on the water slides. This might have been the summer of my first bikini but also maybe not.
I remember this lovesickness as lasting all summer but it must not have since I went on to kiss more boys and by eighth grade I had a different boyfriend—one who my school friends made fun of and didn’t last very long.
I remember years later someone saying they knew my first-kiss boy, and I remembered the way his handwriting looked on that scrap of paper, the form of the letters of his name, the extra space between the digits of his phone number, the way the paper turned to soft lint at the edges from being held so many hours in my damp, eager hands.
Copyright © 2023 Lara Lillibridge
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