Getting my first kiss was about as easy as stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. It was something I was still eager for, but no situation ever seemed like it was the right time. Surely there wasn’t something wrong with me! My good friend Emma proclaimed her faith in me by announcing that her friend Eric and I would be perfect together. Yeah, right. I remembered how well my last date with my “soul mate” went. Still…I was greedy for dates, and decided it would be better to meet a new guy than to sit home by myself. On Monday evening four days later, I arrived at her apartment for my blind date. I was giddy with anticipation and euphoric when I saw who I was being paired up with. Eric was tall (taller than me, at least), very handsome, had black Ken-doll hair and gorgeous green eyes. I couldn’t believe she was friends with him!
Any uncomfortable barriers that might have been present were nonexistent as we laughed away the night playing Mad Gab and Phase 10. Eric and I talked easily over our card game and cheered each other on with each victory. I only hoped that it was because he was interested in me and not just a nice guy being, well, nice. Little fireworks erupted in my stomach each time he looked at me, and I savored each slightly uncomfortable sensation. He was polite, smart, and actually laughed when I made a joke. He was definitely boyfriend material.
Although a quick hug ended our date outside of Emma’s apartment, there were no future plans set for another get-together. Anxiety ate away at me as I impatiently waited for information from Emma. When I talked to her again, I was unable to ask her what Eric thought of me, fearing rejection. I decided to leave our relationship in the hands of fate. I was glad I hadn’t pushed for information, because seeing him the next week would have been embarrassing had I known his feelings (good or bad). He passed me as I was studying beneath a shade tree, and we made uncomfortable small talk that managed to still be exciting. We uneasily said hello to each other as we passed in the campus library several days later. After some more chance meetings with small talk that got a little less embarrassing, we decided that it was time to get to know each other better.
“There’s going to be an outdoor movie on the Lacrosse field Friday night,” I suggested apprehensively.
“Sounds great!” he smiled.
I breathed a little easier.
As the Friday sun sank behind the Wellsville mountains and the stars peeked out of the sky, I paced the sidewalk, awaiting Eric’s arrival. He was late and I was certain that I was getting stood up.
A silhouette made its way towards me, and I instantly recognized Eric’s voice. “Sorry I’m late!”
As we made our way towards the crowded field, Eric found it necessary to break the awkward silence with some not-so-small talk.
“So, do you cook?”
He’s lucky I liked him, because I might have introduced him to Lucy, my right fist.
“Yeah, I cook,” I answered, trying my best to smile like Betty Crocker.
“What do you like to cook?” he pushed.
I timidly told him about my grandma casseroles, knowing that it was obviously some pretty significant information in a relationship.
Surprisingly enough, he didn’t barf and run away. In fact, after the movie, he asked me if I wanted to hang out again.
“How about next Friday?” I suggested.
“I tutor a girl from four until six, but I don’t have any plans after. Do you want to meet pre-or post-dinner?”
“Pre-dinner,” I heard myself tell him. “That way, I can cook for you.”
Wait! That wasn’t me! There were demons in my body making me say things I would never say in a million years!
Ignoring the fear that ignited in my eyes, he smiled his approval, and it was set. I was doomed. Nothing I did could stop Friday from coming. In fact, I believe that Wednesday somehow tiptoed away when no one was looking. When Friday strutted in unfashionably early, I miserably realized that I had survived and was now forced to cook dinner for Eric. Where was an earthquake when you needed one?
I felt as if I were sealing my fate with the chicken enchiladas that steamed from my casserole dish. I carefully watched his face as he lifted the fork to his mouth, eager to interpret the future of our relationship by the look on his face. He ended up asking for seconds! Whew. Maybe he liked casseroles.
Five dates later found us walking through Adam’s Park as the sun was lowering. Our fingers were comfortably intertwined, and Eric was carrying a quilt. We found a tall pine tree, and opened the blanket beneath it, sitting close together. We spoke quietly to each other as we watched the emerging night turn running children into shadows that reluctantly walked home. The stars twinkled softly, and a warm night wind engulfed us, drawing his arms around me.
A sudden tension filled the space between our two bodies, and my heart erupted into a sprint.
“Can I kiss you?” he softly asked.
Terror I had never before experienced held me captive as I desperately tried to nod my approval. I wanted to speak, but my throat was constricted.
“Can I kiss you?” he asked again.
“Yes,” I yelled out in a nearly inaudible whisper.
My palms suddenly became drenched, and I trembled all over like a palm tree in a hurricane.
Eric gently turned my chin up towards his face, and I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to watch. I felt his hot breath on my face, and then as it enveloped my mouth. I waited, but never felt his soft lips touch mine.
I opened my eyes to see what had gone wrong, only to see his own face connected to mine with his eyes shut. He was kissing me. The problem was his mouth was opened.
Not wanting to destroy this once-in-a-lifetime moment, I cautiously opened my mouth ever so slightly. Our lips finally met, and there they remained as he breathed down my mouth. Okay. Now what? Our lips moved ever so slightly, giving me the feeling of a nursing baby. Actually, it was more like kissing an octopus. The magic of my first kiss had been swallowed by Eric’s octopus mouth, and the only words that swam around in my head were, “I waited my whole life for this?!”
I had finally gotten the chance to be Cinderella. I was wearing the glass slippers, I was with my prince, and I still had two more hours until midnight. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. My first kiss was supposed to create music, stirrings in my soul, or at the very least, a desire to continue kissing. Wasn’t there a way to summon my fairy godmother, and have her move my curfew ahead a couple of hours?
After an hour of a cranked neck and dry, annoyed lips, I finally admitted to myself that having a fairy godmother wasn’t all that great. Prince Charming couldn’t kiss, and right there, I discovered that magic really wasn’t all that magical. As Eric dropped me off at my doorstep and sucked away at my lips a final time, I came to terms with the honest fact that glass slippers really weren’t my style.