The Stress of a First Kiss
My armpits burned as sweat soaked my gray 99.7 The Fox radio t-shirt. At 16 years old I was too stupid to know, and no one advised me against wearing a gray t-shirt on a date. Pools of sweat collected under my arms like little puddles that always filled my dirt driveway during a good rain. As a kid, I loved riding my black Huffy through those puddles, but armpit puddles were certainly not welcome on my fourth or fifth date with this girl. Evidently, forty swipes of Mennen Speed Stick per side were no match for the electric anxiety caused by the deep, but expectant gaze of her hazel green eyes.
July nights in the South are hot enough, yet I’m sure I could’ve been knee-deep in Antarctic snow and still suffered the sweats. We stood on the front porch of her tiny white vinyl siding house late on a Friday night as cars zoomed by about 40 feet away, and crickets chirped all around, taunting and mocking me for lacking the courage to kiss this girl. Creepy little bastards.
I wanted to. I wanted to kiss her more than I wanted to take my next breath, even if it would be my last, but the synapses in my brain were frozen. It’s not like this kiss would’ve been my first kiss; I won’t get into all that, but it would be my first kiss with this girl, and maybe her first one with anyone who didn’t share her last name.
And I was beyond terrified.
I didn’t have the good sense that God gave a billy goat about clothing colors and style, and so many other things, but I had a pounding in my heart proclaiming this girl as the cure for my wounded soul.
Did she know that?
Would it be too much weight for her to handle so soon?
What if I leaned in to kiss her and she leaned away?
What if I botched it and ruined everything?
These questions raged in my undeveloped frontal lobe as the crickets continued to torment me.