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Rachel and the Firefighter's Daughter

She and I had been friends since kindergarten. We used to have sleep overs at least one Saturday a month and every time my mom took my family on some crazy vacation, I picked something up for her from every weird place we drove through or wound up in.

I don't remember when I started to like her, or the first time we kissed. I know we were in the 4th grade, in her basement. Her dad was a fireman and he had all sorts of little pictures and mugs and glasses and things with dalmatians on them all on shelves and on top of a huge bar they had downstairs. We started out kissing closed
lipped, and proceeded over time to get more adventurous until eventually we were making out every time I came over.

It went on for a few months at least, but I didn't see her much over the summer so when school started up again in September, our friendship was a little awkward. She never wanted to me stay over anymore, or go to the movies or anything. She started hanging around the girls at school who wore eyeshadow (or as much eyeshadow as the nuns would let them get away with) and rolled the waistbands of their skirts up to
show their knees. Her birthday was in February (the 10th I believe) and even though I don't think she wanted me to come to her party, her mom invited me. I went.

All the cool kids from school were there. They played really awful pop music and danced and I felt kind of like an alien. I was awkward and taller than even the boys, and I wore my brothers old jeans while the other girls had trendy jeans on and lipstick. After we had pizza and cake, everyone sat down to play truth or dare. I was seriously uncomfortable before, this only made it a million times worse. She
was dared to kiss Joe, and she did it. Allison was dared to kiss Craig, and they did it. Then I was dared to kiss Brad and he protested. I scoffed and said I didn't want to kiss him, either, but I wasn't going to be a pussy about it.

I leaned in to peck his cheek and he pulled away, so I told him to fuck off and I went upstairs to call my dad. She came up after me and said she was sorry and I told her to fuck off, too, in front of her mom. I told her she didn't have to invite me to her party or pretend to be my friend between classes, and that I didn't care anymore. We got along okay in passing after that, but we were never friends again. I went through the rest of my time at St. V's getting made fun of and called an ugly dyke by her friends, but I always kept her secret and I will always think of her every single time I see a dalmatian.

She sucks.

Mary H., 6th grade

I was a flirty sixth grader with red hair and freckles. He was the strong silent type sure to sport tattoos and a pierced nipple later in life. He had brunette hair and skin a light brown color like a 70's leather thrift shop jacket. He was a white boy, but a tan and rebellious white boy, which hinted at an exoticism I would chase later in life.

We became boyfriend and girlfriend over a game of dodge ball. He protected me from the mean girls that slammed me silly with the red rubber ball, and I figured I owed him. We started walking hand in hand during recess rather than play team sports, which I sucked at and turns out, he did too. I felt naughty during our daily walks, as the other kids teased us by making smoochy noises. When one day he led me toward the metal backstop at the far end of the baseball field, I felt all pukey and excited at the same time, like I'd just eaten too much cake frosting.

There was a cluster of semi-dying bushes there with a round parting of branches forming a natural fort. There was no chitchat between us during our approach, but then we never talked. Our relationship was built on social discomfort. When I went to sit down, my dress lifted up and my underwear made direct contact with the dirt. As I leaned forward to wipe off my smudgy behind, I felt his lips on my lips, soft and weird. First there was a quick peck followed by a lengthy closed-lipped kiss. I breathed through my nose. I didn't close my eyes and instead looked though the bushes at the students gathered to spy on us. Any latent leanings toward exhibitionism were squashed at this early point, as my face burned red.

In high school, he dated a cheerleader and I was a drama geek who only kissed college boys. He ignored me, I ignored him. But his skin retained that soft, brown color, while my freckles faded away.

Joanna Lord

My first kiss.
Over a decade ago.
It felt like yesterday.

He was my first boyfriend, my first phone call, my first dance.
He was beautiful, darker skin, shaggy hair, snowboarder style.

I was petite, innocent, trying to be older than I was.
I was nervous, anxious, “in love” with this boy.

We were at the movies, left section, up the middle, a few seats in.
We were holding hands, touching each other softly, shaking.

The movie ended. I didn’t stand up. He leaned over.
Soft, warm, real. His lips kissed me with his hand upon my left cheek.

Imagine a boy with potential, with ambition, with dreams.
Imagine me in awe of his adventurous nature.

In the years to follow our first kiss we had many other firsts’.
We touched, laughed, skipped school, chased dreams—together.

He died 6 years ago. My first boyfriend, my first phone call, my first dance.
My first kiss. I still think of that kiss. I have found no kiss to match that moment.

A moment where a boy made a woman out of a girl.
A moment where I gave my innocence to a worthy man…

MyJason John.
Over a decade ago.
It felt like yesterday.

Billy B.

She was a freshman. I was a sophomore. The football team and title of class president definitely helped expose my friendly nature. That was also the year I began to study the process of becoming a DJ. I had acquired equipment and began playing at parties. One night after a football game, we all went to a party near the high school where I ran into Jenny for the first time in months. I had always crushed on her even in middle school, and now, with my adolescent status, I thought I had a better shot. I immediately approached her and we began talking. By the end of the night, we were alone on the couch catching up on everything. We went to Denny’s where we pursued the conversation even further and I totally got lost in her eyes and just soaked her all in.

She mentioned her fears as a freshman, and also brought up her upcoming birthday. I pledged myself as her valiant knight and promised to throw her the b-day bash of a lifetime. She laughed at the thought, and thought me silly until I came to school later that Monday with flyers in hand for her party.

Flash forward to the party – we had talked to her parents who let us use her ranch. We had turntables setup, food, "refreshments"...the vibe was set. Later that night, the ranch was filled with hundreds of people. Even guys from the varsity team came down to lend their partying expertise. Suffice it to say, the freshman princess became an overnight sensation, and her fear of being unnoticed was instantly banished. She grabbed away from my turntables later that night and took me to street outside. She was teary eyed. I hugged her and asked her what’s wrong. All she could mumble was thanks. For the party, the attention, for simply caring that much. I smiled, and before I could hug her, she leaned up and kissed me. There was no spin the bottle. There was no dare. There was no elementary element behind it. Just two people who care. I kissed her back hard and laughed as I grabbed her hand to take her back into the party. I kissed her goodbye again later that night, and dreamt of many more kisses to come.

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