My first real kiss was a disaster. Every once in a while, if it pops into my head, I still bring my hand to my head and wince a bit. It's so painful, even now, because it meant everything to my little heart for it to be perfect with him, and it was anything but. The problem was that we wrote letters, and I was so swept up in him, but he lived far away. I would stay up late and we would read poems and talk about far away cities and about how we would both live in Rome or New York or anywhere. And then I saw him and knew so much about him, but not in person. Not face to face, just skype to skype. In person we were strangers, and I was a girl who had only briefly been kissed under a tree in the dark by a boy with shaggy hair and with three other people standing close by. The day came that he returned home for the holidays and he rolled into town and picked me up from work, and my hands were shaking. He was so dreamy. We went to my house so I could quickly change, and I was shaking. We went to the river because in Langley everything closes at nine or ten. It was freezing, it was December, and I was shaking. I didn't know what to say to the boy who I had told everything to. I didn't know how a hand fit into a hand, or arms around torsos. I didn't know how to rest my head on his shoulder, I didn't know how to say, "I'm glad we are here, together." I think I just smiled and blushed, tongue-tied. And all of a sudden we were kissing. But not kissing, probably. I was so dizzy and nervous that I can't quite remember. His mouth was attached to my mouth and I figured my mouth should move a bit. It was awkward. I was frozen in my place. We stopped; we quit kissing. I was mortified. He hugged me.
Needless to say, he broke up with our un-relationship one week later. I was devastated. I thought about that kiss for a long time. For a long time I thought, "if I could do one thing over in my life, it would be that kiss. I would have slowed down, I would've told him I needed to be kissed gently. I would have made sure it was magical." Now I see it's magical, all on its own. Of course it was disastrous, as most teenage experiences are (acne, growth spurts, voice cracks, inability to talk about feelings, to name a few). The humiliation and the heartache bring with it so much richness and beauty, and, if nothing else, eventually they bring the deepest, strangest kind of laughter.
Now if I could do anything over, it would probably be Math 9 and I would've asked for help or to be transferred from Mrs. Jones' class so I wouldn't have been screwed for all of high school (or adult life, for that matter) on fundamentals of arithmetic.