It was love at first sight. After hurtling towards me with a wide-open toothy mouth during a game of Kiss-chase in the playground, we were inseparable.
We were only ten years old but that didn’t matter: I adored him. As he did me; he used to send me notes in class:
“I love you,” he would write, in painstakingly methodical joined-up writing. “Will you be my girlfriend?”
I said yes, of course, and we’d go hand-in-hand down to P.E., stealing a smile at each other whenever we got the chance.
Somehow he’d even manage to hide love-notes in my pencil case, sneaking them into my bag when I was playing netball (Goal Attack position, of course). Amongst the Wonder Woman stickers and The Incredible Hulk fountain pen (having progressive-lefty-feminist parents meant I always had dolls AND action men - hurrah), I’d find a new, updated, note:
“I still love you,” he’d confirm. “I always will.”
Ah yes, if only life were that simple now. Whatever happened to a bit of good-old honest romance, ‘eh? Nowadays it’s all flirty emails and brief innuendo-filled SMS texts; I think a quick handwritten note from a man stating his smitten feelings is far more impressive. And in my case, would guarantee a shag…
Anyway, we were in love, which meant
a) I got to boss him around, and - more importantly - b) I got to kiss him
Now we were just kids, so there was no funny business, but even at that age we investigated the use of tongues whilst practising the lip-lock. Most likely our curiosity was due to watching people snog in movies (though really I don’t recall that much hot action occurring in E.T., Star Trek II or Tron) but however we learned of it, it was obviously something we wanted to try out, because we spent a few lunch breaks attempting to suck each other’s faces.
He must have been a good kisser, because not only did I kiss him, but so did all my friends. No, he wasn’t cheating on me behind my back; one day, for some odd reason, I made him stand outside the boiler room, and, holding him against the wall, I lined up my friends and made him snog them one-by-one.
I’m not quite sure what I was hoping to achieve; perhaps I wanted to show him off to them; or maybe I just wanted a second (and third, and fourth…) opinion on his kissing skills. Whichever it was, it was done under coercion, and when I was older and a bit more insightful, I felt bad about violating him in this way.
Until that is, I bumped into him a few years ago. I apologised profusely, for what I thought was a terrible, exploitative deed. But he had no memory of the event, and told me not to worry about it. I’m not sure whether I was more troubled by the fact that I had felt guilty about it for almost twenty years and shouldn’t have, or instead that the occasion - and therefore me - hadn’t made an impression on him at all – at least not in the kissing department. Whichever it was, at least I had absolved my guilt - and made him laugh, when I informed him I had kept all his notes.
Hopefully I make a bit more of an impression on a guy now. Well, at least I no longer have to push a bloke against a wall in order to test out his kissing skills, so I guess that's some progress.