This is a story I wrote out in 1996 when my local NPR station challenged listeners to write in about their first kiss. This was mine — read on the air Feb. 14, 1996.
I lived in North Carolina. He lived in California. When I met him, I was visiting my grandmother, as I did every summer. He was twelve and I was twelve, but he was a younger twelve, and that seemed very daring. He was the catcher on the baseball team, an exquisite diver, soft-spoken but a rebel and in a different time, I think he would have been a pirate or a highwayman and he was the most beautiful and thrilling boy I had ever seen in my life.
I really don’t remember him talking, but one night, just at dusk when we were walking past the school-house, he pulled me into the shadow by the front door and tugged me towards him. He just looked at me. He said nothing. And then he kissed me, a wonderfully dry and static kiss – my first kiss – and it was perfect, exactly like every kiss I’d seen in the movies.
And in that moment, the world stopped as though its spring had wound down. That kiss was everything. All art, all history, every war, every great human achievement — disappeared into the incomparable experience of existence that was my first kiss.