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It was just embarrassing. Meg always talked about it, and said it was just so sad that I had never actually experienced it. Yeah, right. I bet she thought it was amazing, being able to tell me all the great stories about how wonderful it was and describing every last detail.
Okay. I’ll say it. I had never been kissed. Yes, I was a ninth grade girl who had never been kissed! Please do not shove it in my face and run in circles around me screaming it. Meg already does that.
So, I decided that ninth grade would be the year. I would get that first kiss, and, if the last day of school came and the kiss had yet to, I would kiss Seth McLeanson, who was totally gross but had the biggest crush on me ever.
Of course, I was hoping I would do nothing of the sort with Seth. I mean, come on, it’s Seth. I’ve known him since first grade and he always smells like potting soil for some reason. That’s not the kind of person I want use my first kiss on.
That kind of person was Christian Dabney. God, he had to be the cutest boy in the school. The world, maybe. And all the girls fawned over him, too. It’s not just me. Even Meg did, and she was a senior. That has to mean something.
On the first day of ninth grade, I went into school. Ready. I was the new me. Lisa Wang told me that I looked more confident, and I definitely agreed with her. I felt more confident.
In my first four periods, I found no prospects. No one was worthy of my virgin lips. Sure, Mac was nice and funny, but he was always licking his lips and Meg told me to look out for things like that. Yates did smile at me funny today, and I thought about him being The One, but then he farted really loudly so I decided against it.
During lunch, I explained to Rebecca and Olivia what I was doing. They agreed it had to be done, what with Meg having a date every other night. Plus, both them had already done it. Rebecca had given hers away in fifth grade to a boy she referred to as Tootsie Pop. Olivia’s was more recent, and with Mac Winters, ironically enough. She didn’t say anything about wet lips, but Liv wouldn’t even if they were wet.
“Kenley, what you really need to consider is who you want it to be,” Rebecca told me. “Now, it just can’t be anyone, right? This is the moment you will remember for the rest of your life as the moment you became a woman.”
“Isn’t that when you-” Liv started, a look of confusion crossing her face.
Becca stopped her with a glare, and Liv looked at her apple. “No, it’s not, Olivia. Now, Kenley, tell us. Who do you want to give a woman’s most sacred possession?”
I thought for a moment. Olivia said, “Becca, I really think-”
“Shut up, Olivia,” Rebecca snapped. “Kenley?”
“Well,” I said, and looked over my shoulder. Christian Dabney was sitting a mere three tables away. He was sitting with the jocks and cheerleaders, which was so cool. He had on a dark blue polo, which was so his color. And the coolest part? Even though he was sitting with all those chill people, he was staring off into space, like he didn’t have a care in the world. Beautiful.
“You don’t mean-” Olivia started, and had to stop herself. She couldn’t go on. She held a hand over her mouth and shook her head.
“Yeah, she does. Christian Dabney.” Rebecca announced it so loudly, the tables on either side of us turned and stared. I looked at the floor but Becca asked, “What? See something you like?” They all turned around pretty quickly after that.
“Ken, you can’t think-”
“Oh, that’s nice, Liv. Totally kick up her self-esteem.”
“I’m just saying, Becca, he dated Rochelle Miller,” Olivia said with a pathetically little shrug. She looked at both our blank faces and said, “I said, Rochelle Miller. She was the head cheerleader in eleventh grade. Guys, that’s unheard of.”
“Okay, okay, Miss Gossip Columnist,” Rebecca said, waving her hand at Liv like she was dismissing her from the conversation. “All I’m saying is that Christian Dabney could be a possibility. Be optimistic, right?”
“Right!” I agreed, because it was Christian Dabney.
And it just so happened that in my sixth period class, I sat right next to Christian Dabney himself. Sure, a sophomore should not be taking an Intro to High School class like Speed Reading, but that didn’t matter at the moment. I was sitting next to the Christian Dabney. The One. I thought I might pass out.
“Hey,” Christian said as Mrs. Hale assigned him to be my reading partner. “I’m Christian. Christian Dabney. Who are you?”
Oh, God! He introduced himself. Like he thought I didn’t know who he was. He was just too perfect. “I’m Kenley Brown.”
“Nice to meet you, Kenly Brown,” Christian said with a smile. He sat down in the seat next to me and opened his book, The Great Gatsy. Oh, he picked The Great Gatsy. That’s a sign! I swear it is! The Great Gatsy was my English teacher from last year’s favorite book. That meant we were supposed to be together! Not my English teacher and me, though. Me and Christian.
“Why are you in this class?” I asked abruptly. Everyone else was talking. No one was doing the assignment, and I felt weird watching Christian actually doing it.
“Uh. What do you mean?” Christian asked, scratching his temple. He placed a pen in his book and looked at me. “Because it’s an Intro to High School class?”
“Oh. Well, I thought it’d be interesting,” Christian said. I looked at him blankly. No one thought Speed Reading was interesting. They took it because Eastern Civilizations was hard and Sports was boring. “Okay, okay, you caught me. It’s a blow-off class, right? And, well, I’ve gotta boost my GPA for baseball.”
I nodded slowly.
“You’re a bright one, aren’t you?” Christian asked, looking at me a little differently than before. He winked at me. “I’ve got someone special, don’t I? Wanna meet me after school?”
“Sure,” I breathed out. I knew this would happen. This was more than perfect; it was amazing. He was The One and he was going to deliver, far faster than I ever expected. I thought my heart would explode with anticipation.
“My lockers 302. Meet me there.”
And I thought the day would never end.
But it did, slowly. But of course I had Seth McLeanson in my last period class, which made everyone ten times worse. And I was having a great day, too!
Seth sat right next to me, and proceeded to talk about the pros and cons of a movie over a book for the rest of the period. His examples included Lord of the Rings, The Da Vinci Code, and Timeline. I didn’t listen to anything past that.
But then the final bell chimed at 2:21 and I bolted out the door, more excited than I had ever been. I rushed to my locker, threw books into my backpack, and ran a quick brush through my hair.
“Oh, Kenley, I was hoping to talk to you!”
“Not now, Liv, I’m on a mission,” I said, brushing past her quickly.
“What?” Liv said, rushing to catch up. “What are you talking about?”
“Christian Dabney asked me to meet him at his locker after school,” I said excitedly, allowing a few moments to gloat to my best friend. If only I could see Meg; I would allow an hour for that brag session.
“Oh. My. God!” squealed Liv, and we started to jump around together. But then I realized I might mess up my hair and stopped. “Oh, Ken, this is amazing. Go! Go now. I’ll tell Becca. Oh, my gosh, dear. Good luck!”
I nodded and rushed off, but not too fast. I didn’t want to look that eager. I mean, it was bad enough I was a freshman. But an eager, desperate freshman? That’d be the most pathetic thing on Earth.
And then I saw him, standing at his locker in the sophomore hallway. There was hardly anyone around anymore and Christian was just slowly placing books into his back pack. I watched for a few moments, and then realized that was sort of creepy, staring at him from afar. Like a stalker. So I approached.
“Hey,” I said, appearing behind him. He didn’t jump in surprise like I would have. He just kind of slowly turned and looked at me. He stared a little blankly, and then smiled at me.
“Oh. Hey. What’s up?”
“Nothing,” I said. Too nervous for complete thoughts, I wanted to say. But that would be playing the eager, desperate freshman role. And I wanted no part in that stereotype.
“That’s cool.” And he smiled again. And I couldn’t help myself. I knew what I wanted and I went for it. I leaned forward, and pressed my lips to Christian’s.
It lasted for only a few seconds before I pulled away. There were no fireworks. There was no foot lifting. There was nothing. Nothing but spit, cherry chapstick, and sausage pizza. All from him, mind you. I had thought to brush my teeth between eighth and ninth period.
“Not bad, Brown,” Christian said, and leaned towards me for more. And as his lips hit mine, I couldn’t help but wish it were Seth McLeanson and his potted plant smell that I was kissing.
I know. It’s just so embarrassing.