As long as I can remember, I’ve been a little awkward around girls.
You’d think, when you have four sisters, a grandmother and a mother all living under the same roof as yourself, that you’d have an easier time with the opposite sex. Wouldn’t you?
The first girl who ever called me her boyfriend thought I was hot stuff. I had no point of reference (I had four sisters, you see, all of whom felt the opposite of their older sibling), so didn’t really know what that meant. It felt good, hearing her say it though. The first time we were together, we had stayed late in the library after school. I was fourteen and she was thirteen.
The librarian didn’t know we were there, so he shut off the lights and went out of the locked door, leaving us alone among the bookshelves. I even remember the book we were looking at. It had something to do with Hippocrates. Neither of us was that interested in the book, even though we had decided to sit down on the floor with our backs to the wall and read it together. It gave us an excuse to be close. We were both aware we were doing something wrong, just by being in that place without adult supervision. I suppose it added to our excitement.
We knew we liked each other but…..at that age, I have to tell you, we were pretty damned innocent about everything.
We walked home, holding hands, and we didn’t do anything else. I mean, nothing else. At all.
I wanted to go all the way home with her but she stopped and looked at me.
“I’m not allowed to have boyfriends until I’m at least sixteen” she said.
I frowned, and she smiled. “But you can walk me this far, at least.”
“Ok” I said, pleased that she wanted me to do that.
“So, OK” she said.
“Ok.” I looked down at my running shoes. “See you later, I guess.”
The tension between us was electric. Amazing, isn’t it, how so much can be said, even with few words.
The next day, I walked her part way home at lunch hour. We stopped at the designated stopping area (as defined by her) and she looked at me in exasperation. Then, to my shock, she stood on her toes and kissed me.
It was a completely chaste, closed-mouth kiss. But man! It was a *kiss*.
I was blown away for the rest of the day. My emotional cheese slid completely off of my cracker. And like *that* my worldview changed. We became an item.
We found excuses to be with each other, whether at band practice, or at church. Often we sat at the front of the church sanctuary, both of us at the piano. We’d play some music, or I’d play and she would sing. And then we would sit on the piano bench, me facing the piano and her facing the pews, and we would just kiss. In church. How God must have been horrified at this use of His Sanctuary. Doesn’t matter that they continued to be chaste kisses – I’m certain He was scandalized. To this day I don’t know why He didn’t just reach down and slap us both with a mild lightning bolt or two.
I remember standing at my locker when she was in the classroom nearby, talking with her friends.
“So what is with him anyway?” someone asked her. “On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate him?”
One night, we were out walking in the rain, just after church. We walked as close to each other as we could get, our arms wrapped around each other beneath her see-through umbrella with the yellow trim. We got to the designated stopping area, and once again, we gave each other the longest chaste kiss there is on record. (To be fair, we had seen open-mouthed kisses on TV but we didn’t know how it worked. We tried it once, and we were both freaked out by it, and dissolved into laughter). I remember her perfume – it had a lemony scent to it.
Years later, when walking down the street, sometimes someone will go by, wearing that same scent, and it brings me right back to that night in the rain, kissing my first girlfriend.