Sweet 16

sept 23 - sweet 16I was Sweet 16 and never been kissed. I watched Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (with my sister) on my birthday and became depressed.

I was in a hurry for life experience I had at that point, only seen on TV. I’d have to wait almost seven months.

A shot of vodka and two and a half beers was enough for me to lose my balance coming out of a house party and not be able to get up, having collapsed in a fit of giggles. The guy who offered me his arm was the guy I had my eye on all night, even though, he’d spent most of the night ogling a much prettier, much drunker blonde girl.

It was the middle of February. I wasn’t wearing a jacket. I still remember the way my hoodie felt when he put his arm around me and suggested we cut through the park. He kept his arm around me as we walked in the moonlight and I kept thinking, “Please let this be my movie moment!”

Finally, he stopped walking, turned in towards me and kissed me.

Our lips pushed together so hard I could feel the whiskers from his five o’clock shadow, painfully prickly on my skin.

I was always worried I’d be bad at it, but that night our tongues flowed in and out of each other’s mouths so easily, I’d become convinced it either took no skill at all, or alcohol made it so it didn’t matter.

He was four years older than me, but likely not much more experienced, although I couldn’t really say – I was only marginally confident of his first name.

I felt like Cinderella. He had turned me from an idealistic, naïve little girl into a woman overnight. The next morning I remember the skin around my lips still tingled from his beard and I wanted that feeling to never go away.

Unfortunately, disillusionment is another life lesson you don’t learn from movies. Eight years later, I saw him briefly walking out of the stadium after a Rider game and it struck me at how much my expectations had changed. I went from wanting him to kiss me because I wanted to be kissed, to wanting him to kiss me because I wanted him to like me, to wanting him to fall in love with me (the last two never happened, although I hoped for a long time).

Before him, I had taken it for granted that men kissed women because they liked them. Now I find myself searching for that innocence again. Looking at men and liking them, that is, liking them in the most innocent way – just liking somebody and secretly hoping that they will want to kiss you.

But this time it’s different because I’m not looking to him to change me. I am who I’m going to be. All I expect from him is that he might want to kiss me for that reason.

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