My Strange First Kiss

A boy hiding a bouquet of flowers from his girlfriend

It was July 4th in the summer I turned 13. Like most July's in Wyoming, it was hot and dry, so I spent the day at the lake swimming with friends. I noticed Cynch was acting a little coolish towards me that day, much like she had been the whole summer. Cynch and I had grown up together, and we were the best of friends, closer than friends, I'd say. 

Her name was Cynthia, but I always called her Cynch. We did everything together, and now I was on my own. I couldn't figure out what I had done to her, but there was something wrong. No one else seemed to know what it was, and I felt a little down and worried. She was drying off on the benches, so I walked over and sat down next to her. 

“Hiya Cynch. Did you have fun swimming? I waved, but you must not have seen me.”

“I saw you,” she put her T-shirt on over her swimsuit and pushed her towel into the duffel bag next to her. 

“Oh,” I didn't know what to say, so I looked down at the ground and tugged at my earlobe. “Is everything okay?”

“Sure. Why wouldn't it be?” There was that distant tone in her voice again. The one that felt like a sucker punch in my gut. 

“No reason, I guess.” I looked at her, but she wouldn't look at me. 

Cynch stood up and grabbed her duffel bag. “Well, I better go.” 

“Okay,” I faked my best smile. “The fireworks should be great tonight. I'll see you there. I'll get our usual spot, all right?”

She backed away, “Oh, um, I can't, Pete. Craig asked me to go, and I said I would.” She emphasized the word ‘asked.’ Then she turned and walked away. I sat back down on the bench for a while, unable to move. I felt like a million people were staring at me though no one was there. My face felt flushed, but I wasn't angry; I felt like someone just punched me in the mouth with brass knuckles. 

I got on my bike and headed for home, my mind racing with ideas of what I had done to make her not like me anymore. I couldn't think of anything, but I knew in my heart it was something bad. 

Then a voice called out, the sort like fingernails on a chalkboard, interrupting my bleak thoughts. 

“Petey! Wait up.” I hated anyone calling me Petey. I still do. It was Stacey. She was a friendly enough girl, but she made me so nervous. She would sometimes hang out with the rest of us, but she had her own group of kids she spent most of her time with. I could never get a word in when talking with Stacey. She talked for both of us. One thing I remember about her was her gum chewing. She was always blowing little bubbles that cracked and made my ears ring. She was the only one I knew who could talk and blow bubbles at the same time. ”I didn't think you would hear me. You were going so fast,” each of her sentences capped off with cracks from her gum. “Are you going to the fireworks tonight? I was going with Craig and the others, but he's taking Cynthia.”

“Yeah, I know. I don't think I w—”

“Then let's go together! I don't want to go by myself, and I know you don't either, but I'm not in the mood to go with everyone. I'll come to your house later, and we can walk over together. It'll be fun.” 

I didn't feel like going at all, but going would be so much easier and less stressful than trying to get a whole sentence out. “Okay.” Wow! I could say a whole word. 

“Cool! See you later,” and off she went. 

I thought maybe I'd have time to talk to Cynch there, so I'd just make the best of the evening. Stacy was nice but overpowering. She was a good friend, though. 

True to her word, just as it got darker, Stacey showed up to walk with me to the fireworks. As we walked, she told me about her day and how she couldn't believe Craig asked Cynthia to go with him and a dozen other things I'm sorry to say I didn't hear. My mind was somewhere else, but I don't think it would have mattered much to her, anyway. Just then, I felt her hand touch mine, and she grabbed on, pulling me along. “Let's hold hands!” 

“Why? Are you afraid we'll get separated, and you'll get lost?” I was only half kidding. 

She squeezed my hand tighter and let out a few big laughs, punctuated by cracks from her gum as if they were exclamation points. Once there, she led me to a nice spot where we'd have a good view of the fireworks. I saw Cynch and Craig off a ways away, so I sat with my back to them so Cynch wouldn't think I was spying. I didn't want to be there at all. After a while, the fireworks show began. The sound of people clapping and making sounds of awe filled the air. Stacey leaned on me and put her arm around my back. 

“This is romantic, don't you think?” She pulled me closer. 

I did not understand what romantic was at that point, so I heard myself say, “yeah.” 

With each flash of the fireworks, I could see Stacey look up at the sky, glance fervently over to me, and then did something I never saw her do. She removed the gum from her mouth! Before I knew what was happening, Stacey put the gum behind her ear, moved her hand up my back inching closer to my neck, and pulled me into her. I felt her lips lock down on mine. It all happened so fast my mind was racing to keep up, but it wasn't making sense. Her hand kept my head from moving or pulling away. My eyes were wide open, but hers were closed. I didn't know what the heck to do. I remember thinking it wasn't all that bad though, in fact, it was nice in a weird squishy way. I needed to come up for air, and I broke free and fell backward onto my back. I was gasping, trying to catch my breath and wiping off my mouth with my sleeve. 

Stacey chuckled. “Haven't you ever kissed before?” 

At first, the words wouldn't come out, but I could whisper, “No! Why would I?” I was so embarrassed I felt like my face would burst as it throbbed with my heartbeat. It was then I noticed Cynch standing over us and looking down at me. Shock shot threw my whole body. I sat up and tried to get to my feet, but I stumbled and fell against Stacey. We were both on our backs, Stacey’s head on my chest. “Oh, Petey!” She purred. I untangled our legs and arms and finally got up, pulling Stacey to her feet too. 

Cynch looked at me. My cheeks were hot, and I felt I'd done something wrong. She looked at Stacey, “Craig wanted me to tell you he's waiting for you.” 

“Oh. Okay, thanks.” Stacey glanced at me and smiled. “Thanks for a wonderful time, Petey.” Then she ran off and joined Craig. 

Cynch looked at me with hurt in her eyes, and it made me queasy. She turned to leave. 

“Please don't go, Cynch. It's not what you think. I didn't do nothing.”

She stopped and turned. She had tears in her eyes, and I had what felt like a knife in my heart. “Never once have you asked me out on a date, but you go on one with her. Why? All my friends have boyfriends and go out on dates. I thought you liked me, but you never ask me out.” 

“It wasn't a date, Cynch. She asked me to go and since you were going with someone else... I don't know... I said yes. Cross my heart, it wasn't a date, though.” 

“You kissed her. You never kissed me, but you kissed her. That seems like a date.” She wiped a tear from her cheek. 

Shaking my head, I said, “She kissed me, Cynch. I have kissed no one before, and I didn't even know what to do. Please, Cynch, I wouldn't kiss her. I wouldn't kiss her or anyone. I know nothing about dating. We always do things together. Isn't that the same thing?”

“No. It isn't the same. Their boyfriends take them to movies and stuff like that. Just the two of them and not everyone else.”

“Okay, Cynch. We can do that stuff too. If you can help me learn, I would like to go on dates too. Just please don't stop liking me the way you have been. I miss you so much.”

She wrinkled her nose and looked at the ground, “I've never stopped liking you. I was just upset because you never ask me out. I'm just your friend. You even told me I was like your sister. I don't want to be your sister.” 

“I'm sorry I called you, my sister. You are more than that. I've realized that when we weren't talking. Can we try dating? I'll do my best if you show me how.” I raised my hand and held it out to her. 

She stepped closer. “So are we boyfriend and girlfriend then?”

“Yes. We are. We already were; I didn't know what to call it.” 

Cynch came over, and I took her in my arms. I had hugged her many times before, but this was different. I wished I could pull her into my chest so I could make her part of me. It felt so warm and time seemed to stand still. I wanted to feel like this forever. Then Cynch looked up at me and smiled.

Before I had time to think, I put my lips to hers, and we kissed for the first time. My eyes were closed, but I could see her face in my mind. Only now, it was sparkling, and her blond hair was shimmering like moonlight on water. Then a million flashes went off, more wondrous than the fireworks from earlier. Colors of every kind of red moved through my mind and flowed through my body like molten lava. My knees felt weak, and my arms and legs were numb. A tingling feeling crept up my back, and when it reached the top of my head, my hair felt like it was vibrating in time with my heart. And then I felt as if we were flying, higher and higher above everything and everyone. I heard a rushing sound in my ears, like that of a raging river. And then silence, more silent than I had ever experienced before. 

I opened my eyes, and then she opened hers. We stayed like that, looking into each other for what seemed like forever and only a second at the same time. 

“I love you, Cynch.” 

“I love you too, Peter, and I'm sorry for the way I acted.” And then we let go of the embrace, and she stepped back. “So, I'm free tomorrow night.”

“Oh, yes. I forgot. We are going to the mov... I mean, would you like to go out tomorrow night? Just the two of us. Maybe a movie?” 

She giggled. “I'd love to!” 

Then she turned and walked away but looked back at me. “I wish I would have been your first kiss.”

I smiled at her. “You were Cynch. You were.”

She smiled in that way that could always melt my heart, and I watched her as she disappeared over the hill on her way home. I had a wonderful, warm feeling, and I knew nothing would be the same again. It would be better than I could have ever hoped for if way too short. 

When you love someone deeply, you can live a lifetime with them in a single moment. I'm so lucky that I shared wonderful moments with her, and we lived a lifetime of love I will cherish forever. I miss you, Cynch, and I love you... Always. =]:)

© 2015 Peter Noah Thomas ~ All Rights Reserved

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