There’s nervous hands, folding over each other instead of reaching out for a partner. There’s innocent eyes, acting guilty. Of course there’s talk of topics that have nothing to do with what is desired. It’s rock and roll. It’s the movies. Maybe it’s in an empty house, or on the floor surrounded by others. If tradition is important then it’s happening in a car. If luck is there, then there’s lips touched with the taste of stolen wine, beer, or candy flavored vodka. The only obstacles left are teenage nerves and the center console. Damned are those who drive stick shifts. The poets with their quills or guitars have already given the instructions. All that’s left is the kiss, then…
Take note of something. In that description of a first kiss, I made no mention of a McDonald’s drive-thru or an uncomfortable brick wall. Because if those omissions you can be sure that I did not just describe my first kiss.
My first kiss was not romantic. In fact, it was a crime. It was something stolen from me. Like most of the other experiences I’ve talked about here, this one I believe has had an effect on my life (it seems that the silly name of this blog is starting to make sense).
If I’m honest with myself, then this particular event all started when I made the decision to half-ass my way through high school, which was actually made in 8th grade. I had spent three years in band, but when it came to the next level of school, I only registered for half a year with band. And while this may seem like an unnecessary detail in this story, I feel like had I taken the full year of band I would’ve seen what was coming.
My first week in band coincided with a basketball game that required us to travel to a town two hours away. I packed up my trumpet and took a seat by myself. Not because I was antisocial or anything like that, I just wasn’t presumptuous enough to inject myself into established groups of friends.
About a half hour into the trip, as I was preparing myself to enjoy the passing countryside I felt two hands fall upon my shoulders. A girl behind me had taken it upon herself to give me a shoulder rub. Looking back on this, I feel like I should’ve known what sort of contract that this shoulder rub was signing, but at the time, I just assumed that band kids were really fucking friendly.
I have to give this girl a lot of credit. I’ve gotten shoulder rubs since and none of them lasted an hour and a half. She had incredibly hand stamina. Maybe it’s just a trait that flautists all have. It was a good shoulder rub too.
The game was sort of unremarkable. All I really remember about it was that our team lost and in doing so got kicked out of the playoffs. The trip back had a much more solemn feel in the bus. Most were sad that there wouldn’t be any other trips. I sort of just feigned being upset, but how could I really be troubled by something I never participated in anyways? Also, it was difficult to be truly depressed when the marathon shoulder rub began again as soon as the bus began rumbling us back home.
Once we returned to our safe little Wisconsin town the girl approached me. She told me that her and some of her friends were getting together the next day and was wondering if I’d join them. I had nothing against making new friends. So I agreed to join them.
God, I was so dumb.
I was oblivious to what was waiting for me when I arrived at the agreed upon meeting place, the local McDonald’s. Once again, had this happened to me today, I wouldn’t have been surprised that no one other than the girl had showed up. That particular day though, I was entirely confused by this. I asked where everyone else was and was answered with a variety of excuses, reasons, and convoluted tales that had led to the other people being in other places.
I agreed to hang out anyways, because like I said, I was open to making new friends. I figured we’d go inside grab a cheap burger, then who knows. Instead she insisted on showing me something cool on the side of the building. Now, I will admit, this is where I got suspicious. I wasn’t exactly new in town, I had been to that McDonald’s thousands of times and I knew that the only thing on that side of the building was the drive-thru lane. But, I followed her anyways.
There wasn’t much time to absorb what was happening to me. One second I was slipping over a snow covered path that wasn’t meant for actual travel, the next I was pressed up against the wall being kissed. Those same strong hands that had loosened my, admittedly already pretty relaxed, shoulders were now holding me firm against a brick wall.
I didn’t really fight against the kiss, I was fucking shocked. It was over quickly though. Not the day, but the kiss. The day went on, and I followed her. As if I owed her something. I mean she did kiss me, aggressively. The very least I could do would be to spend some time with her.
I didn’t spend much time with the girl after that day. Just a couple weeks of trying to avoid her as much as humanly possible. Including a particularly daring evasion using the school library. I then utilized a personal tragedy to get out of any obligations I may have imagined that I had.
That kiss happened something like 12 years ago. I’ve had multiple memorable and far better kisses since. Yet, it was my first and like most of society I put more emphasis on “firsts” then maybe I should. I lost my shot at that pretty memory. That cliched moment that could make me smile with its sickly sweetness. No, it was stolen from me. Perhaps I didn’t do enough, or know enough to prevent it from happening. Nor, do I consider the girl a criminal, she was just as young as I was and was probably just as clueless about these sorts of things.
So, to accomplish the goal of this blog, which is to determine how these moments define me today, I should come up with a conclusion. To this end, I say that this first kiss set me on a path to reclaim that moment. To this day I still try and engineer the world around me in order to create a beautiful moment. And while I have no clear examples, I do believe that I probably have missed out on some of those moments because I couldn’t clearly see how special it could be.
I also have never gone to that side of McDonald’s again.