Love is in the air this week. The glow of new or renewed romance will last at least a few more days, maybe longer. Perfect timing to tell you about my very First Kiss.
My ground rules for a real first kiss are simple. It should be a doozy, and ideally leave you woozy.
Not a quick peck at recess in third grade by bold Billy on a dare. Not the lips-closed fumbling effort of a clueless, neo-adolescent at a party.
They don't count and you know it.
Here's what counts:
Treat Williams, not Fred, author of my first real kiss, but the resemblance is striking so this is how I remember him.
His name is Fred, called Freddie back then, literally the boy next door. Well, one of them. The oldest and hunkiest of three brothers. Football player, top of his class, strong, self-confident, thick dark hair, almost one eyebrow in that sexy Treat Williams way. Every girl wanted him.
The middle brother, the one my age, had a crush on me. I couldn't see him for my overwhelming crush on Freddie, who never seemed to see me at all.
One summer day, as usual there was a gang of neighborhood kids in our rec room (wow, what a dated phrase!) I have no clue what Freddie was doing there, he was 17, no 18. I was barely 14, my friends and I were babies to a high school star, stud, Harvard bound.
But at the time, OMG, Freddie was staring at me. Intently. I didn't see him move but suddenly he was beside me. He said, "What's this door?" In a daze I told him the cedar closet. He took my hand, led me inside, closed us in. It was a room-sized closet but we stood near the door, close, not touching, eyes trying to adjust in the almost total darkness.
I could feel his presence on my exposed skin, hear his breathing. The hair on the nape of my neck moved, sent a frisson of pleasure down my spine. His scent washed over me, light sweat, not unpleasant, English Leather, something else. I know now probably musk. Definitely male.
My senses were humming. My mind was racing... what now, should I turn on the light, should I say something, maybe this was a mistake, when, how... and then he kissed me.
I'd thought they made this up in books, but as his lips closed over mine, soft and hard at the same time, urging them open, his tongue gentle and then firm in my mouth, I nearly swooned.
Oh, the sweet contradictions of a real, grown up kiss. The heat of his hands, one against my waist, the other on the back of my head as he pressed me closer. Our bodies tensed, touched, from kiss to knees ... and I actually felt the room begin to spin.
He slowly pulled away, dropped his hands. I staggered a little, he steadied me. Lifted one hand to lightly touch my cheek. Stepped back. The air between us was still vibrating, but what had been so heated suddenly felt cold.
"No. No," I barely heard his whisper. We stayed still for a minute, not speaking. He opened the door and left.
I was devastated. The boy of my dreams had finally, finally kissed me, but found me wanting, rejected me.
Oh, the difference between 14 and 18. He'd not rejected me, but my inexperience and youth. He'd pulled himself back from making a big mistake. For both of us.
It was years til I understood --and appreciated-- that chivalrous, kind gesture. No matter, it was almost the perfect first kiss, sweet, dreamlike, a hint, a taste of a future of genuine passion.
Why was the kiss almost perfect? In my dizzy, hazy excitement, I didn't kiss him back. Because I didn't know how.
I've come to realize that was a good thing. Karma. He might not have been able to remain such a gentleman and I'd have started that part of my life far too soon. At least I learned what a really spectacular kiss should be. And I'm very, very good at it now.
I'd forgotten this story, and the kiss, as my own life picked up steam and we all moved on. One day a few years ago my younger sister, teasing me and giving away that she'd read my diary way back when, quoted all I could manage to say on the subject: "Freddie Newman at last!"
My mother and his mother remain lifelong friends, lived near each other in Florida, got together often. Mom spent time with Fred and his wife when he visited his mother.
I wonder if... no, he wouldn't remember. But my renewed memory is perfect, just as it happened, more than forty years ago.