It was a cold Friday night during my 8th grade year at Monroe Central Junior Senior High and my school’s team had just played basketball. I had played in the pep band. I do not remember the opponent. I do not remember the final score. I do not remember the music we played (although I’m pretty sure we would have knocked out a killer rendition of “25 or 6 to 4”). But I do remember several important things about that night and they have nothing to do with basketball. That was the night that Carla let me kiss her. And that kiss changed the course of our lives.
I remember it was very dark as we walked from the gym to her sister’s car.
I remember it was very cold and we were wearing large, bulky winter coats.
I remember holding Carla’s hands through thick gloves as we stood by the car.
I remember turning to kiss her, reaching my arms up to embrace her.
I closed my eyes in preparation for the delicate touch of her lips to mine. Carla, much more experienced than I, also lifted her arms. All four arms met in mid air above our heads. I lowered mine and she countered. We clashed again. This went on for what felt like hours. We must have looked like a couple bears fighting in the dark.
Finally, one of us stopped moving and allowed the other to advance unhindered.
My eyes were still closed. My lips were in full pucker mode and I pulled her close.
I do not remember Carla being so tall. This can be the only explanation for why my kiss did not fall delicately on her lips but rather landed squarely on her chin. I was mortified but not shaken. Novice that I was, I realized I had two options:
1. Abort, Retreat, and Re-Attempt the maneuver.
2. Full Steam Ahead.
Of course, I chose option #2. I continued to press my lips against her chin and determined I would find her mouth. I pushed to the left and found her cheek. She responded with her own shifting, sending me back south. I twisted right. She slid sideways. As the spittle turned to ice on her face, our lips met finally, and we enjoyed the wet, sloppy kiss we had worked so hard to obtain.
After a short time we parted. Carla wiped the spit from her beautiful features and said goodnight. It was magical.
Though devastated, I was not surprised when Carla broke up with me the following Monday morning. Looking back on the moment, I have to think but for my lack of direction, Carla and I would this day be happily married with a six-figure salary, 2.5 children, a dog, and a summer home in the Hamptons.
Life is funny that way.