My first kiss made me sick. I was twelve years old and the big sloppy mouthed boy engulfed my lips. I should have slapped him, but I’ve never been good at confrontation.
There was a creek that bordered the grounds of the church camp. A wooded area that gave excellent cover for romantic trysts surrounded it. “Walks to the creek” had become a favorite pastime for pubescent campers, though I’m quite sure this was not part of the standard camp curriculum.
In my naïve mind, romance centered on holding hands and private conversations; so when this nice looking young man asked me down to the creek, I accepted.
My older sister Gwen must have been wiser in the ways of the world for she doubted his intentions and grilled him extensively about his plans. Having assured her, with the sincerity of a salesman, that we truly were just going to walk and talk, we headed off through the woods.
My heart beat wildly. A breeze rustled musically through the trees. We walked hand in hand down a path worn flat by many feet. I was elated that a real live boy seemed to want to give me his attentions. I was slightly introverted (when I wasn’t performing and showing off) and had never felt particularly attractive, so in that breathless moment, my self-esteem was mushrooming. Until he kissed me.
He faced me on the path and almost swallowed my whole face in one kiss. I was shocked. He was drooling. It was so distasteful; I should have kicked him.
Not wanting to be perceived as inexperienced or nerdy, I stammered around his teeth about the need to be getting back. We would walk a few steps; then, he would start mauling me all over again. I should have bit him.
By the time I escaped back to my tent, I was queasy and in need of the camp nurse. She poured a minty liquid into a small cup, guaranteed to quell upset tummies and hopefully feelings of guilt and contamination.
This experience faded over time, and once again boys seemed to be an okay animal. Eventually, I even married one, and discovered kissing is really not all that bad. Context is everything. I will always remember, however, that very first disgusting kiss.
I never did get to see the stupid creek.