Have you ever heard of the six rules of kissing? Traci, my old college roommate, made them up.
1) If you want to be kissed, then you kiss him on the cheek.
2) Close your eyes.
3) Tilt your head.
4) Do something with your hands.
5) Lean forward.
6) If he opens his mouth, then you open yours or else you'll end up with
his tongue up your nose.
I wish I could say that the rules had been passed down from "generation to generation," but since I can't, I guess I'll have to tell you that for a girl who was as inexperienced as a newborn, they came in pretty handy for me, although at the time I didn't realize it.
John and I had been going steady for almost a month. Actually, it was two days before our one month anniversary. We had been friends for a while before we started dating and had now been dating long enough that this guy knew about my past. He knew about my first kiss. Although, in the deep recesses of my mind, I try not to consider it a kiss. I alway made the excuse that if you didn't really enjoy it, then it shouldn't be considered. That first kiss for me, has come to be known as "The Grand Canyon of Dry Lips." I was thirteen when it happened and to this day, it has to be one of the most terrifying experiences of my whole life. The "Grand Canyon" guy really can't be blamed for the terror, though. The lips yes, the terror no. That was all my father's doing. When he found out about the kiss, I knew that this meant certain death for me. My father went off the deep end. He was sure that I was going to end up being pregnant by the time I was sixteen. His lecture scared me so badly that I hadn't let a guy near my lips in almost six years.
This particular night, December 5th, was what you could call "unusual." John and I had gone to see "Home Alone 2." As we left the theater to go out to my car, it started to rain. We ran through the movie theatre parking lot over to my car and climbed in. As we left the parking lot, I could hear the rain pounding on the roof of my car like a bongo drum. When we got to the corner of Airway Blvd. and Gateway West Blvd., John noticed that there was a car that had stalled in the middle of the road.
"Marie, drive over to the gas station over there and wait for me." He was pointed over to the gas station on the northeast corner of the intersection.
John ran over to the stalled vehicle and helped the two ladies push their car over to the gas station. As soon as he was done, he ran back to my car. He climbed inside, his overcoat was dripping wet. He looked so cute as the rain drops glided down his face.
We got onto the freeway and headed east toward Santa Teresa where a Christmas party was going to be held. On the way to the party, I kept having this impression that I should reward his heroic deed with a kiss on the cheek.
"Marie?" John blurted out.
"You know, I was just thinking, when you and I kiss for the first time. . . You're going to think this sounds strange, but I'm going to make sure that I have plenty of Carmex on. I wouldn't want you to remember me as another "Grand Canyon."
I tried to laugh off the comment, but inside my stomach started doing belly flops.
The rest of the way to our friend, David Arroyo's house went smoothly. We joked and laughed and had a good time. The party, itself, was great until after dinner when David announced that he was quitting his position. David was a good friend of ours and had been for a very long time. All the joy of the night now turned to tears. On that sad note, David decided to end the party. So, John and I left. I was still crying when we got into my car. John tried to comfort me, but the more I cried the more my frustrations came out. I couldn't hold back any longer.
At that moment, I wasn't just crying because David was leaving but also because of John. John would soon be leaving for two years to serve a mission for our church. He and I had become so close and I knew that in February our time would be over. The more I cried, the more helpless I felt.
I wanted John to say something, but he just looked at me with a blank stare. Finally, he did the only thing he could do. He held me in his arms. For a moment I felt safe; for a while I knew things were going to be okay. I started to wipe away my tears and I looked up at him and smiled. I looked to his smile for comfort. I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He looked at me again and for a moment, he didn't know what to say.
"What was that for?" He said in complete shock. We had been really "good" friends for several months and it was only a few weeks before that we had even started holding hands. A kiss? Well, that was something I had never done that before.
"Oh, that was for helping those ladies out earlier this evening. I knew you deserved some kind of reward and this was the best I could come up with on such short notice. I just knew that I wasn't going to let them kiss you."
I sat back in my seat and all of a sudden I felt the world around me start to move in slow motion. John's eyes moved from starring at me to a little compartment under the cigarette lighter. I looked down and watched his hand reach for something. He pulled out a little container no wider than a quarter. It had a yellow top and a white bottom. All of a sudden, I knew. I knew what was about to happen.
"Should I stop it? Did I really want to stop it? Oh what were those six rules that Traci made up? Oh how come at the most crucial times in my life, my mind goes blank? Oh! How come I couldn't remember?" I kept talking to myself for what seemed like hours.
I watched him unscrew the lid and put his finger inside it. I watched him pull it back out and spread something glossy over his lips. I watched the bottle get screwed back on and get put back under the lighter. I did the only thing I could do, I closed my eyes.
"How do you feel?" He asked as I finally gained enough courage to open my eyes again.
"Actually, I think I kissed your two front teeth," I replied as it was the only thing I could think of to say.
"Well, maybe we should try it again."
I remember how awful I felt after I kissed "Grand Canyon" for the first and only time. It was almost as if I had lost my virginity. All I could do was cry, but here I was now, sitting in a car with the man I loved and this time all I could do was laugh. It wasn't one of those witch's cackles or high pitched laughs, it was the laugh of relief. It was the most nervous laugh I ever felt in my life. John probably thought I sounded like a tea kettle ready for pouring. I couldn't stop myself. We had experienced such a special moment and here I was laughing. Not only was I laughing, but I could feel my stomach girgling. John looked at me and asked if I was okay. I tried to explain to him that I was. The more I tried to explain, though, the more my stomach started to rumble. In an instant, I looked over at him and then turned my head. I felt my dinner go up from my stomach to my throat in a matter of seconds. Thankfully, it stopped right there.
"Are you okay?" John asked again trying to make sense of the situation.
As my stomach calmed back down, I told him things were just fine. Can you believe it? The most important moment in my life up to now and here I was, almost tossing my cookies.
We ended up kissing three more times that night. Each one was definitely better than the first. It wasn't until the next morning, daydreaming about the night before that I realized Traci was right. If I wanted to be kissed, I was going to have to make the first move. Thank Heavens, I didn't have to use rule number six. Who knows what would have happened then?