There Have Been Kisses, but Never Any Like This.
There have been kisses. There have been kisses where friends craftily leave us alone in an adjoining room, with obvious, yet whispered, purpose. There have been kisses with the background noise of stifled giggling or the self conscious feeling of curious eyes. There have been kisses with the pressure of two friends trying something new, and all of the possibilities, gratifying or heartbreaking, looming over us.
It’s late afternoon and the sun is still as warm as a cherished memory. Ryan and I are together on my driveway, wondering at the opportunity that we have to even see each other today, after yesterday when we stayed too late in the woods. We’re secreted away from the windows of my house, standing to the far side of the concrete, between two vehicles. Somewhere in the distance neighborhood children are playing, somewhere birds are singing, surely the breeze is humming through the leaves on the trees just as it’s lifting my hair off of my shoulders. What does any of it matter? I’m oblivious to all but him.
“So you really didn’t get in trouble for being late yesterday?” I ask.
“Nope… and that’s pretty miraculous.”
“Miraculous? You suspect divine intervention then?” I ask with a wink.
“I think I could safely say the heavens are smiling down on me.”
We continue to tease, but just as I pay no attention to the children at play or the birds singing, I don’t pay much attention to our own half hearted attempts at using proper words.
Finally, Ryan says, “Do you have any idea what we’re talking about right now?”
“Not a clue,” I say.
“Oh good,” he says, stepping closer, “Because all I can hear is you telling me that you aren’t going to run away from me anymore.”
I smile, because all I hear is him reminiscing about my eighth grade picture and promising himself, “I’m going to make that girl mine some day.”
I look at his eyes. He looks at my lips. There are no giggling friends plotting to leave us semi-alone, no parents eyeing us with concern. There are no people in this whole world. There is just Ryan and there is just me.
I lean back, letting the side of the truck behind me take some of my weight. I don’t want to run away, but I do feel years’ worth of emotion culminating and resting on this moment. I don’t want to run away, but I am still afraid. I’m wondering if my nerve endings will respond to Ryan the way my heart already has.
Ryan places his hands at my hips, pulls me away from the truck and closer to him. His lips meet mine and he isn’t the frustrated boy, sitting with me in the street, allowing me to keep him at a distance. He is an undaunted boy who has been given the green light on a long awaited kiss, and he could beat Mario Andretti off the line. For the first time he isn’t timid. He isn’t hesitant. He isn’t Ryan. Not Ryan, my friend from the friend zone.
This is a whole different Ryan who kisses. Who really kisses and who is instantaneously earning the permission to go ahead and continue kissing me and never, ever stop. I move my arms around his neck to tell him so. He curls his fingers around the fabric of the shirt at my back in response. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this moment changes everything.
Despite my unspoken permission to never stop, he eventually does pull back and look at me. I see a question in his eyes. Relief surges through me! I get to answer that question with an “Oh my gosh, YES!” Yes, I felt that. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, I’d like you to do it again. Right away please. I smile. My eyes look a little crazy, I think, because in my mind I’ve put my hands on his upper arms and I’m shaking him as I mentally answer yes to all of the questions that have ever been about Ryan and I. He answers yes back by kissing me again even better. I never saw friend Ryan from the friend zone again. When I next looked, I saw a whole new Ryan. One who had rocked my world like a nuclear bomb, just that powerful and just that dangerous.