I had my first kiss when I was 12. And it was gross. He was a white boy that I’d met at summer camp, named Adam. Adam was best friends with my “fast” friend’s boyfriend, so it was just natural that I’d end up with him. Okay, maybe not natural, but probably inevitable. I still don’t know how I got my parents to let me spend the night at her house the day that it went down. She had “cool” parents and as far as my parents were concerned, “cool” parents were irresponsible. They weren’t wrong. Yet somehow, her parents passed the interrogation and I was dropped off right before her parents left for the evening.
We thought we were grown. Walking the streets of Upland, stopping into random liquor stores to buy Sobe juice and Arizona iced teas and slurpees and then stealing snacks when we were out of money. Honestly, who WAS I? I didn’t know, but they assumed I was much cooler than I actually was (because black girls are cool, duh) and it felt good to be liked for my blackness, even if it was a stereotype.
When we decided we’d had enough of our criminal activity, we started our trek back to her house. On the way there, we passed an elementary school that was dark and gated. What’s better than ditching school to a group of pre-teens?? You got it, breaking into school. So we hopped the fence at the back of the school and walked through the field toward the playground. Our feet dragged the ground as we swung on the swings and then we slid our awkward, pubescent bodies down the tiny slides. Until “fast” friend and her bf decided to take a stroll to God knows where, in the pitch-black hallways of the school.
So. Me and Adam. After awkwardly swinging and making small talk about POGS or kickball or whatever 12 year olds talked about in the 90s, both made our way up to the tiny landing on the slide structure. We sat side-by-side, with our knees to our chests, laughing about nothing and clumsily (inwardly) trying to figure out how we were going to do what we’d come up there to do. And then we turned our bodies toward each other as best as could in that cramped space… and kissed. With tongue, mind you. The French would’ve been highly offended to call that kiss anything close to “french kissing.” There was no slow movement toward one another before our lips met, no sweet, soft pecking that led to more. No. His lips were stiff, mine were closed and then opened and then closed again, and then his tongue. Out of nowhere. Forcing its way in at that same moment. I later compared it to biting into a soggy chicken finger. Just so many levels of gross. And then it was over. Thank God, it was over.
I didn’t kiss another boy until I was 16. And I don’t remember it.