I used to live in a 6-floor apartment building in New York City. I was about 11 or 12 years old and had never been kissed. Actually, it hadn’t really occurred to me that this was something I was supposed to look forward to.
I spent most of my days then going to school, coming home, going out to play with my friends, and then coming in to eat dinner and do my homework.
Kiss? It never crossed my mind. Now, back in those days, apartment buildings had two different wings. I lived in one side and this boy I knew, Clark lived in the other side. We were really good friends and as friends do, we liked to talk to each other once we were home.
But telephone calls were expensive back then and I certainly wouldn’t dream of my mother catching me on the phone, in general, and certainly not with a boy at my tender age. So, we developed a secret code for communication.
Again, apartment buildings had what we called (and they may still be called this) housephones. Everyone’s apartment had a housephone connected to it and downstairs in the lobby was a great big switchboard which was this huge metal plate with as many buzzer buttons as there were apartments. People would come into the lobby, buzz an apartment and speak to its occupant to be allowed to go in.
So, Clark and I figured out that if we both picked up the housephone at the same time we could talk to each other for free just like being on a real phone. If someone came into the lobby, we just stopped talking until they were through talking and then resumed our conversation. It was a blast. And, we thought we were just so smart.
One day, while we were talking, Clark asked me the strangest question: “Have you ever kissed anyone?”
Of course, I said “No.” I then told him I didn’t even know how to kiss anyone.
He laughed. Then he asked me if wanted to learn. I wasn’t really sure, but I said “Yes.”
Now again in our building, on both sides, there were elevators and stairs all the way up to the roof, but I lived on the top floor, the sixth floor. Clark agreed to meet me outside of my apartment in the sixth floor stairwell. I was so nervous.
A kiss. My first. What would it mean? How would I feel afterward? So many thoughts ran through my mind. And then, it was time.
Clark was already there when I snuck out of the house to meet him. He was sitting on the top stair of the landing. He motioned for me to sit down beside him. I’m not sure but I think I might have been shaking.
I sat down next to him and he told me to close my eyes. And then…he kissed me ever so gently and ever so quickly on my waiting lips.
My first kiss.