I am ruining the life of the teenage girl next door. I don’t mean to. It’s just something that keeps organically happening.
We moved to a new house at the end of the summer and next to us is a lovely couple with two kids, one in college and another one in her junior year of High School. Every day her boyfriend drives her home for lunch in his old green two door jalopy. They park and stay in the car for several minutes, finishing, I assume, their discussion of quantum physics and such. Her father or mother come home for lunch about fifteen minutes after she is dropped of and I get the feeling that perhaps the rule might be that the boyfriend is not allowed in the house if parents aren’t home.
My life revolves around the written word, and my 3 year old. Having started a Pre- preschool program this past year, it just happens that my life seems to put my daily goings and comings home right about…say 12:15, prime parking and talking about Pythagorean Theorem time for the neighbor girl.
Also, if there is no school or dance class or grocery shopping, it just seems that I work best in the yard and in the garage about that time. After breakfast, after writing, before nap time…it just keeps working out that way.
I have been mowing the lawn most Wednesday’s when neighbor girl is dropped off. I have been raking leaves right about prime drop of time. The mailman delivers mail about that time so I end up walking out my front door for mail about that time. The garbage men come around then so, in procrastination of what I should be doing in my writing world, I tend to go bring the garbage can in for my husband. Often an errand is done after pick up time at preschool which puts me home right about…you guessed it, time for the front row seat of the day’s discussion of Nietzsche.
I try not to glance at the car, lord knows I would be pissed off at me if I was in that car having my fifteen minutes of discussion interrupted every day…but I seriously cannot help it. And today, I pulled up after dance class, 12:18, to the fogged up windows of one green jalopy. I started to laugh then to my child’s dismay.
I want to go rap on the window and apologize. I want to explain that I was young once too, and maybe I want to explain that since you are not my children, I don’t care if you feel you need to discuss the rise and fall of the Roman Empire for fifteen minutes every day before your parents get home.
It put me in reflection of my own youth and my first serious high school boyfriend.
He and I were so cute together, he was a nice guy. About six feet tall, blonde, wide goofy smile in the way teen age boys are goofy. Sometimes I look back and wonder if our friends pushed us together, if I liked him because he was the first guy who really liked me…but really, the heart of a “first love” are mile stone lessons and finding ourselves.
I wrote a short story about my first kiss with good ‘ol Robbie for a friend’s underground Zine (a hundred years ago when underground Zines were on the upswing). The zine was about firsts and what better first to write about than a girl’s first kiss. Today, as I watch the tail lights of that little two door green jalopy as it carries young love back to school, thought I would share my first with you.
Kissing A Fool
My first kiss wasn’t something stolen by some sweet smelling little Stieve Walsh behind a tree on the second grade playground. It wasn’t even a moment of brilliance at Amy Grimm’s fourteenth birthday party as we sat in a group, hidden by the darkness playing spin the bottle. That stupid bottle never once landed on me. I got bored waiting for the next step in another adolescent rite of passage, so I went back into the house where they were dancing to Michael Jackson.
A few years later as I awkwardly stumbled through my teenage years and awaited important things in my life: like obtaining my driver’s license, getting the lead role in a school play, holding my friend’s hands while they broke up with their boyfriends; mostly I was kind of waiting for my first kiss to unlock the seedy underworld of groping and moaning in the back seat of some greasy boys’ parents car.
I was seventeen years old when I finally received my first kiss. It was the summer before my senior year. I had the deepest emotions you can have for a boy, I was in really really deep ‘like’ with one Robbie C. (I’ll keep his last name for me and my own messed up memories.) Robbie C.: Football playing, always smiling, blond hair, blue eyed, Monty Python loving, always making me laugh, Robbie. Not the man of my dreams. Not the artistic, intuitive, dark, handsome romantic that I had been holding out for. But after Robbie and I went on our first date and I laughed all night and he slipped his teenage arm around my waist as we walked to his car, I realized that things might not always go according to one’s youthful ideal plan.
We had been dating for about three weeks, and let’s face it, I was antsy. Anxiously counting down the moments until we could seal our mutual ‘like’ with a most treasured kiss. (Remember those days when passion built up and movies and books and magazines were pulsing ideals in our hormones and everything was life or death…sigh.) Robbie liked to do things in his own time, and I had never been kissed, and really didn’t want to attempt anything that I wasn’t sure how to accomplish. So I waited for him to make the first move.
Finally, there we were, July fourth, he took me to a baseball game, and afterwards we went to the beach. We walked along the shore hand in hand; talking about the world, about the fears and problems that faced awkward teenagers like us. Then finally, after I thought I would go mad from waiting, we sat on the shore, the moon shining above us, Robbie’s arms around me. Finally, he turned to me and asked, “can I kiss you?” I nodded my head because what I really wanted to say was “It’s about time you Neolithic goon!”
So I closed my eyes, and tilted my head. (Just like they do in all the movies) and suddenly Robbie’s lips were on my own and I thought…oh my god what the hell is this? Are those slugs? Is this how it really feels? Where are the fireworks? The butterflies? Cue butterflies, cue butterflies…. what the hell am I supposed to do now?!
Robbie pulled away from me and smiled sheepishly, and I smiled back all the while thinking: How sad, I don’t like him and I’m going to have to give the ‘friend’ speech and break his little smiling heart all because I don’t really want to kiss some boy if it feels like that and there is no passion.
Suddenly, Robbie cupped my face in his hands, and tilted his head and tilted my head. What do I do? Tell him no? Stop things before he gets his hopes up completely? Then a little voice deep down screamed…try it one more time, just to make sure.
So I did.
Robbie leaned in and kissed me a second time, and with that deep seeded intuition we all have, I kissed back.
Fireworks, butterflies, and goose bumps flooded. I had finally been kissed. We spent the rest of that night making out and panting and fogging up windows; the way you do when you’re young and in the haze of love.
I’d like to say that Robbie and I are still kissing and fogging up windows today…no, screw that, he dumped me half way through our senior year because I wouldn’t put out, so he started sleeping with some skank while he was still dating me.
It wrecked my little adolescent self, and while I gave a bad thought his way every now and again, I really don’t think I was able to give him the hatred he was due. I think it’s because there is something special about the people who help us cross the threshold of rites and rituals that have been created for us to pass over, and I’d rather remember those moments fondly.
*Just a fun side note, flash forward to my 20 year High School reunion. Robbie C. pulled me aside and gave me an apology for his youthful indiscretions. It was strange and kind and needed. And while part of me wanted to tell him he wasn’t allowed to apologize, I turned toward him and squared my shoulders and accepted his apology for every young girl who deserves an apology and never gets it.