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Monday, April 30, 2012

Adolescent Milestones: First Kiss

     “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, dear Sojourner, happy birthday to you!” Clapping and cheering erupted after a rather discordant chorus as my 16th birthday cake was presented to my teenaged guests.

     “And, Sojourner, are you ‘Sixteen and never been kissed’?” Laughter and a lot of, C’mon tell us the truth, popped up around our family recreation room.

     “Well, as a matter of fact, I am.” Groans and, oh sure you are, indicated some doubt on the part of my friends. The success of last year’s Halloween Party had encouraged my parents to let me throw my own sixteenth birthday party, with mostly the same couples in attendance. (Ken was gone, as recorded in last week’s episode, Going Steady Scene 2); the same was true for another pair, I think. 

     It had been a fun night with homemade pizza, a favorite for all the kids back then. Chef Boyardee produced little boxes that contained a package of the measured amount of flour, a tall cylindrical can of the spicy sauce with tiny round pieces of pepperoni, and a small round tin of grated cheese. This semi-homemade delight was seen at most adolescent parties, whatever the occasion. Our hamlet did not yet boast a pizza parlor, but it didn’t matter with Chef Boyardee on the grocery store shelves. Of course, there was lots of music and cuddling, or hand-holding (or both) around the room, but, again, that was all. Another evening of good clean fun, as my parents would say.

     My own date stayed behind to help me clean up but it seemed like he had something on his mind. Since it really was true what I had told my friends, I hoped what was on his mind was the same thing as what was filling mine. It was a bit awkward when time came for him to leave. He had his father’s pick-up and I’m not sure why we didn’t go out to the curb since it was quite dark, but we didn’t. Standing at the kitchen door, we looked at each other.

     “Is it true what you said?” I felt my face redden.

     “Yes, it is?” I was trying to look in his eyes but just couldn’t keep my eyes from drifting to the ground.
     “Well, we will just have to fix that, won’t we?” What a line! My heart raced in anticipation of what it would feel like to have a boy’s lips on my own. What should I be doing? Should I tip my head like they did at the movies or look straight ahead or what?

     In a flash of time, Frank’s hands were gripping my upper arms and his lips were quickly pressed on mine. They were gone as fast as they had come. I had my suspicions that this may have been his first time, too.

     “Bye! See ya Monday.” He was embarrassed but I was intrigued. It felt nice to have even a quick, amateur’s kiss and the feeling lingered as I heard him drive away.

     “Yes, happy birthday to me.” I turned, locked the door and wondered if the second kiss might last a little longer.

     “Awe, Sojourner, you’ve got to be kidding, right?”

     No, actually, this is really the truth. Even when we had a steady boy-friend, it didn’t mean sex in those days. Only one girl in the 134 students in my graduating class was amongst the teenage pregnancy statistics. How, sadly, different it is now.

     Weeks later, another boy stood with me at the front door of my home following a movie date, kissing me in exactly the same way. He was a year older than I and admitted it was his first kiss, which confirmed my impression of Frank’s earlier smooch. Don’t these guys watch any movies?

    So, what’s up with this dangling Adolescent Milestone story? Didn’t the “dating” thing end last week already? Yup, you are a very astute reader/follower. But, today I am remembering my 16th birthday because it is now 47 years later and I am, again, celebrating the notable event. Happy Birthday to me!

****Working on a “guest blog” for you tomorrow.

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