It was his birthday and there was a party at his home. He lived in a two story house set on a massive lot under the shade of trees that appeared to be as old as the city. The lawn was perfectly manicured and boasted a bed of spring flowers bursting forth in all their glory. I was a bit overwhelmed by the elegance of the place until I saw him standing in the doorway smiling at me. He seemed rather happy that I had come and gave me a hug as soon as I reached the entry.
He took me inside where many of our friends had already gathered and others that I did not know were eying me with curiosity. There were the usual birthday traditions of food and gifts and games and small talk. He was busy being a great host but as the frivolity began to wind down he suggested that we take a tour of the house. I agreed that I wanted to see more of the place and so he told me about each of the lovely rooms as we walked and talked. Eventually our journey lead us to a walk up attic, something I had not seen before. I was accustomed to reaching an attic on a tiny ladder leading to a small opening that required agility and climbing skills. This was like just going to another room.
It was a dark place filled with boxes and the kind of belongings that are only used now and again. A shaft of light beamed through a window near the peak of the roof offering the only illumination in the space. I wondered why he had even bothered to bring me to such a strange place when he suddenly moved toward me and kissed me on the lips and proclaimed how much he liked me.
I was stunned but said nothing. He had little idea that this was my very first kiss so I had no idea how to respond. I simply suggested that his guests would be looking for him and that we should return to the party. I could tell that he was disappointed. I felt awful for ruining his birthday but I did not know what else to do. I was only six years old and not yet schooled in the ways of romance. Little did I know that my unexpected fling was already over because of the way I had reacted. He would never speak to me again even at school and sadly I had to admit that I was relieved. I was not yet ready for the games of love.
I would not be kissed again by a boy until another party that featured a rousing game of spin the bottle. I had not met the handsome young man before and I was now old enough to realize that he was flirting with me the way a seventh grader does. He held his breath as the bottle whirled around and around and when it landed on me he had a look of triumph. He insisted that our kiss take place privately so we went into the yard where he gently placed his lips on mine. It was nice but we were from different worlds and did not see each other ever again.
I went on dates and began to dread the end of the evening when the person I was with made a clumsy attempt to kiss me. Most of those busses on the lips were enough to discourage me from continuing with the relationships. It never occurred to me that those young men were probably as nervous and unschooled in such things as I was. The encounters always ended with me finding ways to dump them and no doubt wound their pride.
Then along came the man of my dreams, “the one.” His name was Mike and I met him quite unexpectedly at yet another party. Since my track record at such events was spotty at best I did not expect to become as enchanted with him as I did. At the end of our first date he gave me a very polite and respectful kiss that was at the same time warm and exciting. It felt as though we had been destined for each other for all time.
I was giddy after he left and I later told my girlfriends that I thought I had met the man I was going to marry. They laughed at my silly romantic musings but understood what I meant. When he called for a second date I just knew it was fate and our meetings and kisses only became better and better after that. I had never before felt so comfortable with another human being.
Ours was indeed a happily ever after story. We impetuously married when we were very young somehow knowing that there was no need for us to have more experiences before taking such a momentous step. We have been partners in life for over fifty years and those kisses are as wonderful today as they were when we first met. I can honestly say that “true love” is a real thing that the two of us have experienced and that a kiss is not just a kiss.