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Tuesday, October 24, 2006Il Primo Bacio (The First Kiss)
First kisses are always romantic but the passage of time and the loss of that love makes them even more cherished. We were a group of friends sharing memories; the discussion turned to the memories of first kisses…as the man shared his story I could see it all unfolding before my eyes as if a movie were playing in my head...
He had watched her for almost a year walking from the subway station past the football field every day. She wore her long hair in a single braid and it swang back and forth like a pendulum when she walked. Her braid made him smile because she always attached a quirky barrette or ribbon at the end of it. Sometimes there would be tiny jingle bells or fuzzy pom poms glued to the barrette. She was unlike any other girl he had ever seen. She was very pretty but took no pains to play up her beauty and that made her prettier in his eyes. Her style was her own eclectic no one in their neighborhood looked like her or dressed like her. She wore tinted glasses like John Lennon’s and was never without a flower in her hair. No one seemed to know anything about the girl except to say she lived around the corner. He often walked by her house hoping to catch a glimpse of her on the porch. Sometimes he got lucky and she'd look up and smile at him. He’d never had trouble talking to girls but just the thought of talking to this one girl made his stomach knot up. Since she managed to cross his mind more than once a day his mother was starting to think he had an ulcer.
She emerged from the subway unprepared for the rainstorm that had started minutes earlier. He watched her from beneath the awning of a brownstone that he had ducked under for cover. He couldn't help but laugh as she slowly walked in the rain occasionally stopping to kick at a puddle. She was getting thoroughly soaked while everyone ran past her covering their heads with whatever was handy. He called out to her asking her if she wanted to borrow his umbrella, he didn’t know why he said that he didn’t even have one on him. She turned and looked at him and gave him a smile that made his heart skip a beat, “No thank you I love the rain!” throwing her arms up in the air for emphasis. As she walked away the silver toned Goody barrette fastened to the end of her braid slid off and fell to the ground. This one had tiny multi-colored Ronco rhinestones glued to it. He waited until she was out of sight to scoop it up and put it in his pocket.
One day fate stepped in because it was obvious he was never going to have the courage to talk to the girl on his own. Sometimes on her way home she’d stop briefly to watch the football team practice. He was talking to a new team mate when the girl walked by. The kid ran up to the girl calling out her name. It turned out she was his sister. From then on the boy made it a point to drop the new kid off at his house everday after practice...he also picked him up on weekends too. The brother quickly figured out that the VIP treatment was because his popular team mate had a crush on his sister even though for the life of him he didn’t understand why.
Spring slowly became summer and on the first night of summer he managed to convince the girl to let him walk her home. Shortly after bumping into her at the pizza shop her brother and their dog disappeared. She didn’t know that the quarterback had actually paid the brother to do the vanishing act. They sat in the park talking while "waiting" for her brother to return for a couple of hours until it was finally time for her to get home lest she violate her curfew. They were several blocks away from her house when one of her sneaker laces became undone. He insisted on tying it for her and lifted her up placing her gently onto the church stoop. When he was done she stood up and was at eye level with him. He reached over and picked a flower from the planter on the stoop and placed it in her hair. Without a word between them he swooped in and kissed her. He held her face gently in his hands as if it were made of porcelain. When he parted her lips with his and tried to slide his tongue into her mouth she jumped back. It was then that he knew this was her first kiss… he smiled at her and whispered in her ear,"il vostro primo bacio, non sia spaventato io li insegnerà” (your first kiss, don’t be scared I’ll teach you”). Why he spoke to her in Italian he didn't know but when she whispered back to him in Spanish he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with the girl.
They stood there illuminated by the light of the nearby lamp post. The kiss felt electric a surge so poweful he could feel it in his toes. His knees felt like jello and he felt light headed…almost faint. He held her tight against him so tight he could feel her heart beating against his chest. As they kissed a radio could be heard playing a song in the distance. The song “A Theme From a Summer Place” gave their first kiss a soundtrack. The neighbors looking outside their window on that beautiful night would later say that he held her so close they seemed like one. That the kiss while innocent of groping was so passionate it could've set off smoke alarms. Their first kiss brought back memories of first loves and first kisses to those who saw them that night.
When the kiss was over he stepped back and told her what was in his heart. For two years all of their kisses seemed like first kisses. Then one day she was gone, the beat of his heart stopped by a reckless driver. Despite the fact that he's been happily married for the past ten years he still carries the barrette that had slipped off her braid in his pocket and a picture of her in his wallet. Thirty years later no matter where he is on the first night of summer he plays "that" song and relives the memory of il primo bacio and he crys at the memory of her.
Theme From A Summer Place
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