YA Highway: kisses-that-never-were

Road Trip Wednesday is a “Blog Carnival,” where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

To participate, just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments at YA Highway.

This week’s prompt:
Compare your first kiss with your favorite character’s first kiss.

Uh oh, this is a very revealing one. It’s personal and a little embarrassing and awkward—just like a first kiss.

I’m always skeptical of perfect first kisses. Kisses without saliva and scraping teeth. Kisses without fear. Kisses where the world stops and the heavens open and the book ends.

I’ve been sitting here for a long time, trying to think of a character’s kiss I’ve loved. I’m sure there have been many, but I honestly can’t think of one at the moment. What comes to mind, instead, are the times when characters don’t kiss, though they could have. They don’t kiss because only after the fact do they realize they could have—and that the other person wanted it too. That missed opportunity is almost better than the kiss, itself, because in your mind, the kiss-that-never-was will always be perfect.

Like this one, for instance:

At the age of 13, having never been kissed, I watched this scene over and over again, hoping each time that Devon Sawa would suck it up and kiss his Little Giant. But he never did, and so their kiss-that-never-was will always be perfect. In its intense awkwardness, it captured the tension that can only exist between two innocent people ignorant of each other.

Though my now-husband F and I were much older than 13 when we met, our courtship was filled with all the tension my 13-year-old self had ever desired. More innocent than I’d like to admit, F and I had many first kisses-that-never-were, and I remember every one because every one was perfect.

Our first “date.” We watched three movies sitting on opposite ends of my couch and talked until five in the morning, but did not kiss. He later admitted that he turned down my offer of tea because he didn’t want to kiss me with tea breath, if it should come to kissing.

A four-hour screening of Lawrence of Arabia at the University of Chicago student theater. We sat next to each other in the dark, sharing an armrest, though our arms weren’t touching. I don’t remember a second of that movie, but I remember every torturous moment I did not take his hand.

Valentine’s Day. He came to my door bearing a paper bag mailbox like the ones we all made in kindergarten, back when we gave each other drug-store valentines. He made a little card and a mixed CD, and buried them in candy. I should probably have kissed him then, but I didn’t.

Months and months later, after countless kisses-that-never-were, we finally kissed for real. During the end credits of Bridget Jones’s Diary, lying next to each other with only our elbows touching. I couldn’t breathe. His rabbit heart was beating so loud I could hear it. When we kissed, our teeth scraped, and he said “Let’s try that again.”

That was technically our first kiss. There was saliva and scraping teeth and lots of fear. The world didn’t stop and the heavens didn’t open. No, it wasn’t a perfect kiss, but it was something better: It was the end of the kisses-that-never-were and the start of all the kisses that would be.

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8 thoughts on “YA Highway: kisses-that-never-were

  1. osutein says:

    Excuse me, I just… there’s dust in my eye, I think. It’s nothing, no, dust I think. I’ll just step over here for a second and… does anyone have a tissue?

  2. Becky Wallace says:

    What a lovely kiss! It’s awesome that you spent so much time with your future husband before he ever kissed you. Make sure you save this post so that you will remember it when you’re old married people!

    • Lara Ehrlich says:

      Thanks Becky! I’ll definitely save this one for later. And I agree that it was wonderful to have spent so much time together before our first real kiss.

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