The very first ever kiss. A 5th grade feather on the cheek. Double-eye winking, looking away. Feathers falling everywhere. Down our arms, down our legs, in a heap on the dusty playground. I laugh and run. Gangly arms doing the breast-stroke in the lunchtime wind, running faster….toward the girls….away from Ronnie-freckled-McCartney.
Eskimo kisses. My father’s broad Indian nose touching mine. His black eyes, small and shining, locking mine. He lifts me up into the air, nose to nose and I flail...kick my skinny legs in every direction, giant Ked sneakers banging his shins, and shriek in laughter. Eskimo kisses on a hot summer night.
At the Bayou….I’m in the eighth grade and I’m not allowed. My Father said so. I’m all dressed up in borrowed shoes and a chopped up make-shift dream-come-true dress and he scooches in closer and kisses me hard. I love it. “Take me home” I obediently mutter ….. It’s midnight, now…..
“Have you ever been French kissed before?”
“Yesssssss” I whisper, eyes closed …….
“Oh my God, this is it” my heart screams…….
Chubby little cheese curl toes. I touch them. Marvel at their perfect imperfections. Smooch! I pucker up and kiss the little pink soles hard. “You’ll never ever be too old for Mama to love you”…….
Grimy glass covered in hand swipes, nose prints. Snot. Standing like a barbed wire fence between us. They lift the steps up and the engines roar. I search frantically for his face in the little oval windows. I kiss my own fingers and lift them up… blow. Praying he sees me. Praying it reaches him. Praying for an end to war…..
I’m next to her now. Trying hard to breath in rhythm. Counting in between her sudden gasps for air, for life.
1, a million, 2, a million, 3, a million……15, a million, 16.…….
I don’t want to stop her going. I don’t want to save her now. I want nothing more than peace so I’m trying to be very, very quiet. We’re breathing in labored sync. I can’t stand it. Roll over and kiss her fragile little forehead, “it’s okay. You can go now”…..
And we start again…..
1, a million….2, a million, 3.…..
“I’ve loved you for a million years”……. My sweet, sweet, Nadine…….
My hands cupped around his sweaty block-head. Holding on. Grasping at the real live HIM! I squeeze. Lean in and kiss him, Italian style, on both cheeks. Muah! Muah! My fingers, shaking, trace his nose,His I-just-recently-could-grow-this-stuff chin. My son. Free. I hold on to him for dear life.
Floating in the lazy round river. It’s hot and his eyes are blue. Then teal and green and yellow… an endless ocean… frothy beer suds on laughing waves.
Without ever touching…..without ever letting go…….
The kiss goes on and on….