First kisses are awkward and exciting, but mostly awkward. The year was 1991. I was 10 years old, and it was the summer after fifth grade. As always, I was spending my summer at day camp. Being the daughter of working parents meant that summers weren’t really vacations. Anyway, summer camp at Sam Rayburn Middle School was typical. You know, arts and crafts, sports, recess, the occasional field trip. The difference, this year, was that I suddenly realized that I found boys cute. Prior to this summer, boys were cool, in a friendship kind of way, and I wanted to vomit anytime any of my friends went all googly-eyed and tongue-tied whenever the boys were around. Gross!
Well, this particular summer, I flirted (if you could call it that…) with Chris, a 10 year old from another school. According to my friends, he liked me, too. Back then, it was normal to send your friends on a mission to find out if someone liked you. You’d tell your friends who would talk to his friends who would talk to him. The news about him liking me back took the reverse route. So, after establishing that we were in “mutual like” with one another, the next logical step seemed to be that we had to kiss. At least these were the rules my friends told me. Who makes up these rules anyhow?
Ever since figuring out we liked each other, Chris and I had been avoiding each other like the plague. I guess, when you’re a kid, liking someone (and knowing that they know that you like them) is the ultimate embarrassment. Despite our best attempts to steer clear of one another, our friends began planning our first kiss. In order for us not to get caught, the plan was for our kiss to happen on the last field trip of the summer, when we’d head to Lake Bryan for a picnic and swimming party. The days leading up to the field trip were the worst. I was a nervous wreck! What if I do it wrong? How are you supposed to kiss anyway? What if people see us?
The day finally arrived. Surrounded by my girlfriends, who were in a tizzy about my impending step toward adulthood, I got cold feet. I begged them to call it off, but they told me I was stupid if I didn’t kiss him. This was my chance, they said. He was the cutest boy at camp (he really was). Standing near the lakeshore, I peered across the shore at Chris, who was in a similar situation. We exchanged glances. Despite the fear on both of our faces, we went forward with the plan.
Since the lake was crawling with camp counselors who would surely turn us in if they caught us smooching, the plan was for Chris and I to kiss in the lake. Floating about 30 yards from the shore was a platform where kids would climb up and jump off into the lake. The pier was held up by two floating tubes on either side, leaving a passageway underneath, with about a foot of exposed air between the water’s surface and the bottom of the platform. According to our friends, we were to swim out at the same time, meet under the platform, and kiss. Magical, right? Wrong.
We both swam out toward the platform and met underneath. As we broke the surface of the water, we caught a glimpse of one another. The next thing I know, I’ve closed my eyes and leaned toward him. Our lips touched for a split second. Literally, my first kiss lasted a millisecond. As soon as I felt his lips on mine, I pulled away, dove back under the water, and swam back to shore. Once back on dry land, I never spoke to Chris again. Seriously. The summer ended a few days later, and since we went to different schools, we may as well have lived in different worlds.
I did actually see him one more time. It was sometime in college. I was browsing the movie rentals at a local movie store when I caught a glimpse of his face. It was one of those “Oh my gosh! I recognize that face, but where do I know him from?” moments. After following him around (not in a creepy stalker way…) the aisles, it dawned on me. That’s my first kiss guy! I remember thinking how funny it was because I was totally not attracted to him anymore. He was totally thugged out in baggy, sagging jeans, an oversized white t-shirt, and red sneakers. Not exactly the cutest guy anymore.