Tuesday, October 24, 2006

the fundamental things apply

I couldn’t fall asleep last night, because I couldn’t stop thinking about kissing.

It started out simply enough: I miss kissing. It’s been a while. Not terribly long, but long enough for me to notice it. I’m very much looking forward to my next kiss.

But the social politics of where my next kiss is likely to come from… they’re complicated. Which led me to think about who we decide to kiss and who we don’t, and how those kisses cement themselves in our memories.

There are the people you intend to kiss right from the beginning. You like him, he likes you, you’re both fairly sure it will happen eventually. Before long, everything begins to center around the tension. There are those long, drawn out moments where you’re close enough that you could kiss, close enough to feel the electricity between you. If you’re me, you seize these moments to look panicked and hide your face in whatever medium is available: a menu, purse, pillow, it doesn’t really matter, as long as he can’t see the mix of excitement, embarrassment, and impatience that’s written all over your face. It’s a good thing I don’t play poker.

I’m notorious for running out of patience in these situations. Maybe this is part of the reason I like to sub – I adore those long moments, the anti-ci-pa-tion, the absolute agony of it – ooh, just thinking about it makes me shivery. But I can’t hang on to it. I need someone to force me to wait, or else I go into instant gratification mode. When I was younger, I was a little too blunt about it. I believe I once said, in a movie theater, “so… are you going to kiss me?” In retrospect, I should have kept my mouth shut. That relationship was better left un-consummated. But as I got older, my technique for fast-forwarding got a little more sassy. After getting my soon-to-be beau to pin me and demand what I was thinking, I did my best to look demure and murmured “I… I was just wondering when you’re going to kiss me.” Pushy? Me? Of course not.

I have never had a kiss take me completely by surprise. That seems like a shame. Even the ones that were relatively unexpected had at least a couple of hours worth of build up. I guess they caught me off guard because I was just on the verge of thinking “oh… are we going to end up kissing?” when smack, it happened. Sitting on the bed (okay, laying, but really it was totally platonic!) and suddenly there we are, makeout city. And again the next night in the kitchenette on the sly.

Some of the kisses that have had the biggest effect on my life – the ones I should really remember – are so fuzzy that I can’t really say exactly how they happened, but I know they did. I know it happened in my room, probably on the floor, and she looked unbelievable in my red corset, and I was terribly jealous because she had just kissed our friend. I can’t remember that kiss, but I remember one very early the next morning, after the friend had gone to bed.

I know there are people in my life I kissed too much, and people I never should have kissed at all. The ones that stick with me, though, are the ones I wish I’d kissed more. Longer, harder, more attentively. I let myself brush things off as meaningless, listened to the voices in my head telling me not to get too close because this one was likely to bite (and she did! Although not in the way the voices suggested), and didn’t kiss her the way she deserved to be kissed. I didn’t want to push too hard, so I let her turn over and go to sleep in borrowed pajamas, when I should have kept kissing her and kissing her until our lips were bruised. I bet, if I had done that, we would have spent a lot more time kissing in the months that followed. It makes me feel… wasteful.

But over and over, I keep coming back to my next kiss. You can’t remember or not remember a kiss that hasn’t happened yet. You can’t regret it, analyze it to death, replay it over and over in your mind. Any kiss that exists in the future is absolute, ideal, complete as-is. It’s almost enough to make you want to hold back and not let it happen.

Almost. Not quite.


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