The first time I kissed Jake it was a bad idea. Jake wasn't a bad kisser, but I shouldn't have kissed him. I liked him a lot. He was funny and nice and he didn't have bleached hair anymore, but kissing Jake led to the most painful word any girl could ever hear from a boy ever: ouch.
That one word came out of his mouth after I kissed him, and I would forever recall his reaction whenever I even thought about kissing him. Or passed the Dairy Queen parking lot where the most painful kiss occurred. Or sat across from him while playing cribbage as he asked me to retell that story for his college buddies about the guy who wanted to ejaculate on my glasses when all I wanted to do was get drunk.
I ran around a wall because I was too busy picturing him blowing a leprechaun in exchange for gold to pay for our movie and his popcorn. I didn't even kiss him first. He decided halfway through our conversation in the parking lot of the closed down Dairy Queen that he should lean over the table and fill in the space that was between us and kiss me. I didn't even kiss back. I didn't have time to think, let alone pucker my lips or close my eyes. I was talking and then suddenly I wasn't and I was feeling his lips on mine instead. I didn't even know if I liked it. I don't even know if I liked it now.
I think we were 19. He was visiting from school and it was probably summertime. Earlier we had gone to the movies, but I don't remember what movie. He probably had popcorn, though. But I do remember rocks. He pulled up outside of my parents' house in his car and sat in the car for a good five minutes before he came up to the door and rang the bell. Or knocked, I'm not sure. I ran and hid around a wall, walking out from behind it to answer the door as if he had caught me by surprise, but not before I watched him from the window as he sat in his car.
His head was bobbing up and down below the dashboard, and I wondered what he was doing. Perhaps he dropped something, and instead of opening the door to check underneath the seats for whatever he dropped, he decided on being stubborn and rifled blindly for whatever object suddenly encompassed his interest. Was it a pen? That's stupid. He could just ask me for a pen. Money? His wallet? Was I now paying for this movie and his popcorn? Would I be mad about this later and bring it up years from now at a barbeque that would isolate him among our guests as we laughed about his misfortune? Maybe he brought me flowers and was deciding on whether or not giving them to me was a bad idea.
I ran around a wall because I was too busy picturing him blowing a leprechaun in exchange for gold to pay for our movie and his popcorn, and if he caught me staring at him through the giant front window then he and I would both know that our forthcoming activities were paid for with ill-gotten gold. I played it cool as I answered the door, pleasantly surprised at his arrival and excited about our movie. We walked to the car, got in, and he started driving for roughly five seconds before I blurted out what I just refused to hold in, "What were you doing?"
So much for playing it cool. I glanced over at him, confusion all over his face as he obviously responded, "When?"
He knew I wasn't offended, or he would have apologized. He knew I wasn't horny, or we'd be on top of the table tearing at our clothes."Just now, before you got me. You were trying to find something."
"Oh, I was picking up rocks. They're in my pocket."
"Yeah, I wasn't sure what to do with them. I didn't want to throw them in the street, and then I didn't want to throw them in your yard, so I just put them in my pocket."
We drove in silence or probably listened to the radio. We saw a movie. Ate some popcorn. These simple acts could not prepare me for what would happen later that evening. No prophet disguised as a theater usher pulled me aside mid-movie and told me, "Just a head's up: you're going to suck at kissing in 3 hours. In the meantime, have these Milk Duds." I didn't have a handy-dandy Obi-Wan to train me, and I certainly didn't shake my empty popcorn bucket as if it were a Magic 8-Ball.
Eventually our movie ended and we drove again, this time to the now-infamous Dairy Queen. We ate ice cream outside because it was nice when the sun was going down and you could hear crickets and see fireflies. We stayed a long time, just sitting and talking, but I don't know about what. I don't know what I said that made Jake kiss me.
When he pulled away and returned to sitting across from me, realizing that I hadn't kissed back, realizing that I was caught by surprise at his gesture, I'm sure he read it as disinterest on my end. He knew I wasn't offended, or he would have apologized. He knew I wasn't horny, or we'd be on top of the table tearing at our clothes. Instead, he stared back at me and probably wondered what he did wrong, or perhaps he suddenly had his mind made up about me: yes, she is in fact not who I wanted to kiss. Maybe I thought I did, but now I know.
The possibility that he now didn't want to kiss me was somewhat mortifying. How could I win him back? How could I change his mind and make him realize that I was exactly who he wanted to kiss? We continued to talk and sit in the dark, but I could only think about my missed opportunity. Eventually we made our way back to his car, and in my panicked state I decided to reach for his neck, pull him into me, and kiss him.
And then he said "ouch." He also laughed when he said it, which sealed my fate as the most painful kisser on the planet. One word was my undoing. I couldn't just play it cool and never have tried to kiss him back. I couldn't even be subtle and sweetly kiss him like when I'm actually interested in someone and kissing is new and exciting. Instead, I had to squeeze his face meat between my hulk hands and hope for the best. We probably drove home in silence as I begged for death to take me quickly. He probably thought about rocks in his pocket.
I didn't try to kiss him again, not for years.