It’s amazing how one event from childhood can have such enduring consequences for an adult. If we are talking in terms of the famous “Butterfly Effect,” our almost makeout was the butterfly, and my prolonged inability to deal with members of the opposite sex would be the resulting earthquake in Taipei. I don’t really blame you though. How could I? If I were you, I definitely would have turned away in disgust at my approaching, slightly parted lips.
There we all were, a cohesive unit of preppy middle schoolers enjoying a sunny afternoon at a local ice-cream parlor on the water. We were all dressed the same: khakis and an untucked button down with Sambas. Of course, the button down was probably a bit beat up, perhaps even had holes in it, to show off our rebellious side; or in my case, my obsession with Seattle rock music. Most ordered ice cream, which took forever because the 87-year-old woman behind the counter would have had a difficult time scooping jello let alone rock hard ice cream. I was stupid enough to order a slice of pizza, frozen Ellios pizza at that. Little did I know that holding hands with you earlier that day would be the apex of my career with women, and that damned slice of pizza would lead directly to my lowest point.
Minutes later, after giving in to the prodding of my ‘friends,’ I decided our first kiss should be a public show, while we leant awkwardly on our bicycles. So I looked longingly in your eyes (notice I wasn’t staring at your chest, which for a 7th grader wasn’t half bad if memory serves me correctly), and parted those lips…
Not only did the sun reflect blindingly off my braces, but also was further melting the cheese from the pizza that was firmly lodged throughout the metal. Actually, the sun couldn’t have been THAT blinding, if it had been you probably would have at least let me peck you on the lips. No no, I don’t blame you. I blame lots of people ranging from my Orthodontist who claimed my braces would only be in for 12-18 months (he was only off by a year) to my friends who triple effing dog dared me to try and kiss you goodbye. Those a-holes knew the whole time what would happen. I lean in, you turn away, I kiss air, everyone laughs. About as predictable as me not laughing at 2.5 Men.
And now here I sit, about 15 years later and every subsequent relationship I’ve had with a female is somehow connected back to you. I still get nervous at every first kiss, and fifth kiss for that matter; even though my dietary habits (and flossing habits) are far superior than frozen pizza, and even though I now understand the difference between mint waxed and woven.
The other thing about our relationship is that it really never should have happened in the first place; you were way out of my league. I was playing up at least two divisions. And today I am still trying to do that. It’s a lot easier to jump from AA ball to the majors at 13 than it is at 29.
That’s it, for now anyway. I might send you another letter down the line, see if I’ve learned anything else from you, besides how to floss my teeth. And well, I guess you also showed me what Kasey Kasem meant by, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.” The only problem is I never really listened to Kasey, except when he hosted the dance-off at the Max that Screech and Lisa won with ‘The Sprain’. Christ, even Screech had more luck with Lisa than I had with you.
Until Next Time,
* Wet Hot American Summer