Reposted from “My First Kiss” Blog Contest (Please forgive me for using a short story/blog I posted a couple of years ago. It's been a hectic week.)
MY FIRST KISS
By Valerie Capps
Time flies by in a blur of days, months, and years, but sometimes the world around me slows until time seems to stand still. Today it is the scent of burning leaves that bridges time and space to catapult me back to a long-ago October day.
I close my eyes and find myself in the small school cafeteria where I spent hundreds of hours choking down bland food and laughing with my friends. If I understood Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and could travel faster than the speed of light, I might have found Karl sitting there joking with his buddies and casting furtive glances at me across an invisible line that ran down the middle of the room. Instead, I visit the day in my memories and discover that, in some ways, it is more real to me now than the day it happened....
Teachers are posted at each end of the imaginary line used to separate the sexes. I am sitting with some of my friends at the “girl’s” table on the opposite side of the lunch room from the boys when my best girlfriend, Donna, nudges my ankle with her foot and whispers, “He’s looking at you again!”
I turn my head in his direction, and he smiles. My heart plummets to my stomach, and I choke on the dry hamburger that has attached itself to the roof of my mouth. I lower my gaze and swallow three times before the lump of meat finally scrapes down my throat. As I take a long drink of milk, Donna kicks me again. I lift my chin and send a shy smile across the invisible boundary line back to him.
A brisk autumn breeze laden with the pungent scent of burning leaves drifts through an open window, flips a wisp of his hair across his forehead and then floats across the room to me. As he brushes the hair from his eyes, sunlight bounces off the dark strands and they glint with a touch of cinnamon that reminds me of the unusual color I’ve seen reflected in his brown eyes. I continue to stare at him. His smile widens and he winks at me. I giggle and lower my gaze.
The bell rings and as we climb the stairs to our second-floor classroom a couple of Karl’s friends push ahead of the other boys and begin to roughhouse their way to the middle of the crowd of girls. The girls giggle and screech with a mixture of excitement and alarm as Karl nudges a path through them toward me. The lunchroom teachers are focused on breaking apart the rowdy boys, so Karl reaches out, grabs my hand, and runs up the steps tugging me along behind him.
He pulls me into the second-floor alcove outside the custodian’s closet then turns toward me, clasps both of my hands in his, and stares down at my mouth. His eyes sparkle and his lips curve into a mischievous smile. I hold my breath as he moves closer and when his lips touch mine, I think my rubbery knees will give out. All I can think is: We’re going to get caught! We’re going to be in so-o-o much trouble!
The kiss is wet and sloppy. Karl makes a loud smacking sound, similar to the noise my Grammy makes when she kisses me on the mouth, and then he backs away. He grins in triumph and lets go of my right hand but keeps a tight grip on my left hand as we turn and skip down the hall to our third-grade classroom.
Donna peeks under the bottom rail that surrounds the stairs to the lunchroom, covers her mouth, and giggles as we pass. We can hear the teachers in the stairwell below her, as they scolded Karl’s friends and threatened them with a trip to the principal’s office.
Our classmates slowly file into the classroom, but we barely notice. Karl and I are on a natural high. We fold our hands on our desks and stare at the blackboard as we struggle to conceal our excitement over the wicked thing we have done.