I was once a boy.
I still am, but I once was, too.
My first kiss was an ordeal. It involved a girl I can no longer remember, a place I can no longer recognize, and a time I should no longer be able to recall.
My mother had a friend who lived in some very secluded apartments in the southern sector of California. Not being all that far from her, she decided to take a visit for some reason I can no longer recall. The ride was long and winding, full of dead ends and detours. Once we were there, I couldn't even remember the way back. (Not that I do now, anyway.)
This friend of hers received her with open arms, and took us both into her home. It was a lovely little place, one that carried memories I couldn't place, as if they were mine but I forfeit them upon entrance. Not long into the visit, I, as a 7 year old child, end up antsy and irritated. At this point, my mother's friend decided to introduce me to her daughter.
My mother's friend was African American, and so was her daughter to an extent. She had a light tone, freckles, and raven black straightened hair that went past her shoulder blades. I don't remember what she was wearing, besides that it was white. She smiled and shouted like an adventurous child normally does, while I was the shy, stay-close-to-his-mother child. I was, admittedly, afraid of her and what would happen at a place like this, but her mother assured me I would be fine.
Outside, the world was glaringly bright. (It's either that or my memories are just making white space for what I can't remember.) Going down the stairs, she slid on the rail while I took each step slowly and carefully. The grass was plush and the pavement clean, the benches ocean blue and the grills jet black. We ran around this labyrinth of apartment buildings, 3 floors to each; climbing up several construction scaffolds and opening several gates meant to keep children like us out.
Eventually we came upon a resident, a teenager who seemed about 18 or 19. He spoke to this girl, whose name I can't remember anymore, and pointed at me and laughed. She laughed back and gripped his leg tight in a quick embrace. As he walked away, her attitude changed entirely. She began to fidget, play with her white whatever-it-was at the ruffles, and her cheeks started burning a bright cherry red. At this point I thought she was sick and asked her if she wanted to walk back home and out of the heat; she just shook her head vigorously. I was ready to ask something else when she rushed to me and touched my lips to hers, warm and soft and quick.
For a second I was stunned, and then this utter fear of sickness hit me. I started scrubbing my lips with the edge of my shirt, trying to keep from getting sick when she started wailing at the top of her lungs and ran away. I was trying to figure out what was wrong when this deathly thought hit me: if I don't figure out where she's gone, I can't remember the way back. I felt frantic now, and just started sprinting off in the direction I had saw her go.
The chasing is all a big blur to me, the only parts that are really vivid are me drinking from a garden hose to get some water and seeing her poke her hand around corners to lead me on. Eventually it became near sunset and the skies turned pink, and we ended up behind some building marked B, where we we between some man's fenced off backyard and the chain link fence to the parking garages. The light from the cars made her skin turn a little redder than before, and she looked beautiful.
Be it love or some other emotion children are allowed to feel, separate from adults and their assumptions and convictions; we felt good there. We kissed and kissed, always giggling like we had some secret no one could ever know.