52: First Kiss

52: First Kiss

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School

First Kiss

Stolen kisses are always sweetest.

~Leigh Hunt

I heard a loud knock on the front door that bright summer’s morning, and then someone calling my name. “Patsy, can you come out and play?” I was the tomboy who ran with the neighborhood boys: the tall, gangly girl with the shoulder-length, unmanageable, natural-curly hair. Not that I cared. At age eleven, I looked forward to beginning sixth grade at summer’s end.

Just recently, I’d noticed the slight swelling that infringed on the flatness of my cotton T-shirt, especially if I stood very straight and stuck out my chest. Somehow I felt wild and wicked when I did that, and kind of disappointed that no one else seemed to notice my advancing adolescence.

I bounded across the living room and swung the door wide open. My friend Larry, who lived next door, stood on the front porch step. He grinned and then asked, “What should we do? Ride our bikes?”

“Yes!” I replied emphatically. “Let’s go check out that house my grandpa is building.”

We hopped on our bikes and took off down the street, skidding around the corner to the right, and turning into the building site. My grandpa owned a lumber mill located a block away that my dad managed while Grandpa kept busy with building projects around town. In fact, Grandpa had built the house my family lived in.

I thought watching houses being built was like working a three dimensional puzzle, with the architect’s plans serving as the picture on the puzzle box cover. Larry and I had been checking out the progress of this house for several months. Although the framing was done and the roof on, the doors still needed to be hung and the windows set.

We dumped our bikes in the dirt and entered the house through the open door frame. The 2-by-4s emitted the pleasant smell of fresh-cut wood. No construction workers were around. Newly installed plasterboard gave the floor plan new definition, and we began to wander through the bare rooms. I casually roamed into the back bedroom and into the closet, with Larry trailing behind. Dead end. I turned to leave and there we were—face to face.

“It’s time to go,” I said.

“Wait a minute!” he said. Then he leaned over and kissed me smack-dab on the lips. He immediately bolted for the bikes so fast you would have thought the house was on fire. I hesitated, then followed his path to the front door. Up the street I saw dust flying, tires kicking up gravel bullets, and Larry speeding down the block. He disappeared around the corner without a backward glance. I’d been left behind.

I stood still for a moment, shaking my head, dazed by his spontaneous act. I took the back of my hand and wiped off my lips, as if that would make the memory disappear. I couldn’t fathom what had happened. All I was sure of was that I had felt the lips of another on mine. As swift, as unanticipated, as abrupt as it had been, there was no denying it. I had just experienced my first kiss.

I shrugged my shoulders, jumped on my bike, and headed home, knowing that something had changed. I finally got it. I wasn’t just a tomboy anymore. I was a girl!

~Pat Stockett Johnston

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