Guest columnist while I’m on vacation. Send me your favorite first kiss story. It could be your first kiss ever, or your first kiss with a particular person, or someone else’s first kiss. I’ll publish any I get on Friday. Enjoy! –BetsyG
By Wanda R
It was our first kiss together, and his first kiss after his divorce.
Technically, we had kissed before, but that hardly counted. Our first date had been what he called a “look-see”—a cup of tea, some conversation, and a walk in the woods. Plans were made for a real date the next weekend.
The real date was dinner at a restaurant with an impressive reputation in Boston’s fine-dining community. Wine and conversation flowed easily; we laughed and flirted, enjoying each other’s company.
But in his car in my driveway at the end of the night, he clutched the gear shift as if it were the last twig on a saving branch. “I um, I can’t, um, I don’t know what to, um…” he said. Not verbatim, mind you, but close.
“Well, thank you for a lovely evening,” I responded.
“Glub, gurble, I’m sorry. I’ll call you,” was his approximate goodbye.
He wasn’t ready for a kiss goodnight, he was apparently trying to say. That was okay with me; although I liked him, I didn’t think a kiss wasn’t necessary on what was really a first date.
The next morning, I went out for a run and, when I returned, saw that he’d left a message on my answering machine. When I called back, his mother, who was visiting, answered the phone.
“Oh, just a minute,” she said anxiously.
I heard her call him, and I thought I could make out the sound of running water. There was some shuffling in the background before he finally came on the phone.
“Were you in the shower?”
“Yes,” he said in a small voice, revealing that he’d instructed his mother to find him wherever he was if I called. “Listen…about the kiss.”
“Oh, that’s okay…”
“No, I just, I was really nervous, and I did want to kiss you, but, I was just kind of, uh, freaked out.”
“No problem,” I said.
” I want to make it up to you.” He asked to meet up for the explicit purpose of giving me the kiss he should have given me the night before. Weird. Wonderful.
The next night we had a quick drink together, and then he walked me to my car. He held out his arms as if presenting himself as an offering.
“Can I reclaim that lost kiss?”
“Sure,” I said.
He leaned down and gave me an awkward peck on the lips.
“Okay then,” he said. We parted for the night.
The next time we got together, the expectations were obviously higher. We went to the movies at a packed theater, and his large frame was stuffed into the seat next to mine. I wanted his knees to press against mine, or for him to hold my hand or indicate in some way that he wanted our bodies to touch. But we might have been wrapped in cellophane for all the contact we had.
When we got to my house at the end of the night, I invited him in. We made chitchat in the kitchen while I filled a kettle with water for tea, and I set the kettle on the hot burner. Then I leaned against the counter and faced him.
Whatever had been holding him back seemed to collapse at that moment. He spoke in a great burst: “I’ve been dying to kiss you all night.”
He took me in his arms and his mouth mashed against mine—a tooth might have been chipped in those first moments. He was shaking. “I’m soaked,” he said in amazement.
Indeed, running down either side of his shirt were streams of sweat, the likes of which I’d never seen. He held me for a moment while he collected himself, and I could feel his heart throbbing in his chest. After taking a few deep breaths, he was ready to resume.
This time, his muscle memory had kicked in. Soon we were kissing like teenagers, the type of endless making-out that resulted in fogged windows and fifteen minutes left until curfew.
The water in the kettle started to boil, and the whistle blew like a blues harmonica. It was a single note of background music that played for the longest time while our lips met again and again.
I managed to get the kettle off the stove before all the water boiled out of it, and then there was more kissing. After a little bit, his hands started to wander to my breasts. Before I was married, this would have been very forward behavior I would have discouraged. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, because as a married man, surely he’d been handling breasts without giving it a second thought for years, and just as surely were my breasts being handled on a regular basis while I was married. For over a decade kissing had gone with breast handling. I could hardly play Polly Purity as I did before I was married; my children were the evidence I was not a virgin.
Still, some restraint was called for lest I become known as the town tramp. He wanted to do some undressing of my upper regions, and I was not entirely opposed. Skin on skin seemed like a nice idea.
“Here’s the deal,” I said. “I’ll take my shirt off if you take off yours. The bra stays on.”
He was amenable to that arrangement, so shirts came off, and then we were back at it.
Eventually, we had to come up for air. We actually did have tea, but found ourselves in each other’s arms before the liquid began to cool.
“I see no logical end to this,” he managed to say during a rare moment when his lips weren’t on mine. We realized we’d have to set an arbitrary endpoint—2:30 a.m. was the agreed-upon time.
At the specified hour, we separated reluctantly and put our shirts on. Then we said a dreamy goodbye, two hours after our lips first met.
It was many years ago, and that man is gone, but the sound of that teakettle still reminds me of him.