When dusk fell and the cool breezes fell over the neighborhood we completely abandoned the house we were fighting to get in all day. The new fight was to stay out as long as we could. After dark the furnace blasted wasteland that nearly killed us was replaced by a sort of wonderland.
On some nights we would race outside with our bikes to play in the clouds of mosquito poison billowing out of the back of government trucks. If we got close enough to the origin of the fog we were cycling blind. Like a moving game of hide and seek with the added bonus of airborne pesticides.
Nighttime was also when other kids, the kids with parents who wanted them to survive until adulthood, came out to play. If we were all on speaking terms we played games like regular non-poisonous hide and seek. We also played a game that involved us sitting around one of the other kids, who volunteered to be a corpse, two fingers under the volunteer while we attempted to levitate him. “Stiff as a board, light as a feather” we would chant. It never worked. Even though every one of us knew of a story about a time when it did work and the levitated kid floated away.
If the kids in the neighborhood were not on speaking terms then the games were replaced with pranks. We weren’t bad kids, really, but we were isolated and wanted to shake things up a bit. Our pranks involved things like taking all of the potted plants off of the Leverknight’s front porch and arranging them on the O’dell’s front porch.
Fishing boats would be moved to another part of a yard and dog houses turned turned on their sides. If we really didn’t like a particular neighbor, and this could happen for any number of reasons, real or imagined, and we were feeling particularly brave we would use an old 409 bottle to spray water on your porch light making the bulb explode.
The best Summer night in history happened in mid July 1979. It started off with me convincing two of the neighbor boys my age to have a wrestling match in their underwear. The first thing I did was to convince them to play Super Heroes then I casually mentioned that underwear looks a lot like what Batman and Superman wear. With the seemingly innocent question of “Who’s stronger anyway, Superman or Batman?”, the game turned into World Super Hero Wrestling.
Batman and Superman had been wrestling a good ten or fifteen minutes, putting, what I’m sure turned out to be confusing grass stains on their briefs, when a girl we didn’t know walked by. We were all surprised and froze to look at her. People we didn’t know ever walked by. Especially girls.
“Hi, I’m Lisa” She said in a throaty full voice. Then she smiled and Time stopped.
She was amazing. She looked like the women from my stepdad’s porn collection but with clothes... and standing upright. Until then I thought the women in those magazines were from a different planet. I had certainly never seen anyone around town with such perfect skin and curves like that. The women around town liked smoking and bowling. The women from Butter Buns and American Chick liked long walks on the beach. I had never seen a beach but I was pretty sure all that walking on one somehow made it difficult to keep their legs together when they sat down.
But I was wrong. Real people could have bodies like that. Lisa had a body like that! Her hair was black and shiny and reached to her waist. She could swirl it, flip it and send waves down to the tips when she spoke.
She was nice. She was seventeen. She was a succubus in cut off Sassoon jeans. She was a Goddess that sprung fully formed from the limestone gravel of our road. She was sex.
The boys in their underwear, Dwayne and Todd, couldn’t speak. They just stood there in their underwear staring. I had on clothes so I was able to introduce myself and suggest a game of spin the bottle. Statistics dictated that with three boys, one girl and one bottle one of the boys was going to get kissed by another boy. These were odds I could live with.
Dwayne and Todd put their pants on while Lisa and I searched fora bottle. We looked in the Miller’s trash. Mrs. Miller was a daytime alcoholic and drank wine so there were always good bottles in their trash. Lisa suggested we head toward her house. She wanted to play in her parents camper since the mosquitos were starting to bite here. She was too classy and sophisticated to ride a bike behind the mosquito poison truck and now she was paying the price.
In the camper we sat at the booth that made the dining table, me and Lisa on one side and the other boys opposite us. Being the girl we all agreed it was only polite to let Lisa spin first. The bottle spun and eventually slowed to a stop pointing at her. “I can’t believe I’m doing this” she laughed.
We couldn’t believe it either.
She spun again and this time when it stopped it was pointing at Dwayne. Lisa leaned over the table allowing her tee shirt to gap open in front and gave him an elongated kiss right on the lips. It was at this point I was afraid we might be in over our heads but I kept that fear to myself.
It was Dwayne’s turn to spin. The bottle opening stopped at Lisa. Interesting. “Did he do that on purpose”, I asked myself. Dwayne had an older brother and knew a few things through him that the rest of us didn’t. Can I do that on purpose? Bottle manipulation was a very useful skill to have.
Dwayne and Lisa kissed again. This time kissed lasted a little longer and Dwayne twisted his head back and forth like he was fastening a wing nut with his teeth.
Now it was Lisa’s turn again. She reached for the bottle she wound up ... did she just look at me? True to the name of the game the bottle spun. This time it stopped on me. Did she do that on purpose? I looked at the Dwayne and Todd. They were looking at each other. They thought so.
I wasn’t scared. I had kissed people before. I looked at her, leaned forward, closed my eyes, puckered up and waited for her lips to touch mine. They did it was the single greatest moment of my life.
For about twelve seconds.
Lisa‘s head pulled away and she opened her eyes, “You know what”, Lisa said with a little laugh “You guys don’t know how to kiss”.
What was she talking about. I already kissed a bunch of people and nobody ever complained. I didn’t know yet that people don’t complain about how you kiss in your presence. Nobody says to a lover, or potential lover “that was just awful” . They complain to their friends instead.
My heart was sinking as my ego shattered when she finished her statement. “So I’m going to teach you”.
The three of us were all glad we weren’t in our underwear at that point.
“First of all”, she started the lesson and grabbed my face “relax your face. You pucker up like someone is going to punch you”. She shook my head a little “relax” and when I didn’t she shook my head again, “relax”.
“Now, turn your head a little but come in slow. Make your lips firm but soft at the same time” She brought her finger up to my lips to test the firmness.” More firm, yes, like that, now soft, perfect, now firm”.
Her voice dropped then to a tone more lusty. More sultry. “When your lips touch rub them against each other a little. You can use your tongue a little bit” . The boys across the table gulped audibly as she leaned, slid her finger off my lips and brushed hers against mine. “like this”. Next her tongue brushed against my lip and our mouths connected... then.. she stopped. and leaned back slightly to continue the lesson.
“Now when you’re kissing someone think like you’re an electric cord and you want to put all that electricity through the other person’s body all they way down to their feet.”
She leaned back in and pressed her lips to mind and, I swear, I could feel the electricity. My hair stood up. That kiss started at my lips and coursed through me all the way to my toes. My kneecaps started to overheat before she finally pulled away. After a handful of minutes my eyes stopped looking up into my skull and I was able to focus on my instructor.
“How old are you guys anyway” she asked.
Todd was feeling cheated since he hadn’t had a chance to kiss anyone yet so jumped at the chance to tell her and maybe get a favor by being the youngest. “I’m eleven and they’re thirteen”.
Her smiled faded. and I saw the chances of getting another kiss going down with the edges of her mouth. “You guys are too young! Out. Out. You have to go” I was still in a daze and just followed the other two boys out of the camper and in the general direction of our homes.
Lisa graduated High School the next year and moved away. Dwayne and Todd told the story about that night in the camper and it wasn’t long before a simple kiss with one of them, over a table became a full on orgy involving both of them. Since I was the only person present who wasn’t going to lie about what really happened I was written out of the story completely.
As far as I could tell they were lucky they didn’t get the full brunt of that kiss. A lesser man, and I considered them lesser men, would have crumbled under the impact and spent a lifetime in her thrall hopeful and desperate to recreate the moment. Hell, just watching her kiss me haunted them for a good five years.
I walked home that night with new knowledge that changed me. I learned what a good kiss was. I learned how powerful a really good kiss could be. I learned that what is in your mind while you kiss someone can be conveyed through you and all the way to their toes.
I also learned I was one hundred percent gay. While Dwayne and Todd thought of nothing but getting back with Lisa all I could think of was taking my new found skills out on the road for a test drive.
I remain dedicated to the memory of Lisa and my first real kiss. Every time I hear “that was amazing” after making out with someone, I say a little “thank you” and hope that, wherever she is, Lisa is happy and making out with someone worthy of her skills and deserving of her significant talents.