Ingrid Bergman once said, “”A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” There’s some truth to that. There are many times in my life when a kiss said more than words could ever say.
When I was fifteen
I had my very first real adult kiss. I was three months shy of my sweet sixteen birthday, still painfully unaware of what really went on between a man and a woman. Book knowledge, I had. It was the practical experience I was a little in the dark about.
He was an Older Man, 21 years old, the assistant manager for the paint store I worked for part-time in the evenings. He was sexy and dangerous and all I knew was that flirting with him made my insides tremble and my cheeks flush.
One night, working together in the store, he was coming down off the ladder in the back room after changing some lightbulbs when I headed into the back room for my break. We flirted and teased and flirted a bit more and then before I knew it, he had wrapped me in his arms and was kissing me like no tomorrow. It was a terribly adult kiss. I think I swooned after he let me go.
In his kiss were all the promises that life had kept hidden from me about men and women.
When I was eighteen
He was only the second real boyfriend I’d ever had. We were going to the highschool graduation dance together as friends, had planned it for months, though I so wanted it to be more. One week before the dance, he asked me if I would “go steady”. But we never kissed. By the time the dance rolled around I was a bunching bundle of nerves.
The entire night I was waiting for him to kiss me. The entire evening flew by without so much as a peck, though he was wonderfully attentive and fun. We piled in cars and headed back to my house for an after-grad party, which lasted all night. Pretty harmless kid stuff, watching movies, that sort of thing.
When the sun started coming up, I went outside to watch. I stood there for a long time and watched the sky turn into a blazing swatch of rainbow light. He must have stood beside me for a few minutes before I noticed him, and turned to him with a happy smile.
He placed his hands on my cheeks and drew me toward him slowly. It was the slowest, softest, most romantic kiss I’d ever had… and when we opened our eyes, the sun was up. We must have stood there for half an hour, kissing, not even noticing.
In his kiss I found the promise of romance and caring and all the sweet things I’d never experienced before.
When I was twenty-two
I’d had feelings for him for a while, but he had a girlfriend. I knew he cared about me too, but there it was. I couldn’t allow myself to get involved with someone who was already attached, but oh how it hurt to be with him and not be able to touch him.
One day he called me at work and said he needed to talk. I knew then he’d broken up with her. We spent the night together, driving around, walking through the park, talking… and I kept waiting for him to kiss me. And every time I thought he would, instead he’d light a smoke.
We were saying goodbye for the evening when he finally turned to me with That Look. It started out small, a spark, and then a blazing inferno that ended up with me on the floor and him rising above me, plundering my mouth with his tongue. I loved every minute of it. I think I was in love with him before our lips even met. Already this man meant more to me than any I’d ever met before.
In his kiss I found the promise of the future and the first real love of my life.
When I was twenty-eight
There were a million reasons (not the least of which, his girlfriend) why I should have walked out of the room. But I couldn’t. I was saying goodbye and it was harder than I ever thought it would be. Nothing would be the same again. And why did this man, whom I’d known for such a short time, affect me so deeply? I didn’t know then. I know a little better now.
But for months I’d dreamed of one kiss. I was going to have it no matter what the cost.
I held his hands. Even that slight contact felt huge, better than my fantasies. Such a simple thing, yet it meant so much. I looked into his eyes, tried not to cry, and told him I would miss him.
He said he would miss me too. It squeezed my heart.
It took every ounce of guts I had (and one or two I had to borrow from a higher force) to do what I did next. I placed my shaking hands on his cheeks and tilted my head forward for a kiss.
Eyes wide, he pulled back a little and murmured, “Whoa. Whoa, whoa.”
I kissed him anyway. It was a very short, very soft brush of lips. It was at once more than I’d hoped for and less than I’d dreamed.
I moved to get my coat. When I turned around, he was still sitting there. He hadn’t moved an inch.
In his kiss I learned that sometimes you just have to try.