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Sean, St. Paul

We walked the same three blocks every afternoon, at first just side by side and talking excitedly, nervously, getting to know each other, but eventually holding hands and not saying a word. At the end of those three blocks, she'd turn right and walk up the hill to her house, while I'd continue straight to my own home. Before she'd turn to leave me for the afternoon, she'd stop to look up at me with those amazing dark eyes, she'd smile that wicked little grin, maybe give a quick squeeze of the hand and then she'd be gone. As far as eighth-grade romance went, what we shared was nearly perfect.

Except for the kiss. I knew that I was suppose to want to kiss her, and I knew that she was suppose to want to kiss me too, but it seemed like we were getting along pretty well with this walking home, holding hands business. Besides, I really wasn't too sure of the mechanics involved, and she had just gotten her braces tightened. Did I dare try to slip my tongue in with all that new, potentially sharp metal? How does one go about slipping one's tongue into another's mouth anyway? Oh Christ, what about bad breath? I lay awake many a night the fall of eighth grade pondering such questions.

In the end, she took the lead, as I've come to find that ladies tend to do when guys hesitate too long, especially when it's something that both sides are eagerly anticipating. When she squeezed my hand before saying goodbye, she held on this time. With some sort of judo maneuver, she swung my body around, and wrapped me tightly with both arms. Stepping on my left foot to gain leverage, she came at me with eyes half closed and mouth slightly parted. I was trapped. And so I leaned in with my own slightly parted mouth, though eyes wide open as I was horrified at the thought of missing her mouth. Contact. Cue the butterflies and lighting bursts and… cinnamon gum? I should have thought of that.

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