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The First Kiss
Paper lanterns hanging in clusters around the dance floor washed dim blue light over the slow moving crowd, mellow music played softly in the background and a full moon hung perfectly suspended in the dazzling sky. Trees surrounding the dance twinkled, bedecked in blue lights twirling up their trunks and twining around their branches.
Anxiously I waited in black slacks, a blue dress shirt, black vest, shined shoes and fedora all bought for me by my savvy mother. A familiar red truck pulled up and smiling nervously, Amy opened the passenger door and slid onto the concrete, passively nodding to her dad whose gargantuan silhouette I could just make out against the driver side window.
Her eyes were bright, even in the low lights, and when she smiled at me I relaxed. It was the same smile I’d known for the past two years.
“Hey boyfriend,” she teased shyly, the word new and foreign on her tongue, strange and alien in my ears, no matter how many times I’d heard her say it in my dreams.
Holding hands, we awkwardly made our way back to the dance floor, but by the time we got there, we were both in ferocious fits of laughter and soon joined our friend’s circle as the music sped up, too loud for gauche talk.
Other couples in our circle of friends drifted away and Suzie slopped punch down her slinky dress. Eventually hot and sweaty, we found ourselves alone on the edge of the dance floor as the music slowed and became a ballad.
“Do you want to dance?” I asked apprehensively, eyeing an obnoxious couple who were pressed so close together you couldn’t distinguish the girl’s frilly black dress from the guy’s dark tux.
Following my gaze, Amy slowly shook her head. “My feet hurt. Let’s go find somewhere to sit down.” We ended up under one of the glowing trees on opposite ends of an iron Victorian bench. She had her knees turned politely towards me, though my mother, round as she was, could have easily sat between us. In silence, we watched the dancers with disinterest, but as the delicate hands of my watch ticked away, I began to watch her instead, with great interest.
Shamelessly, I stared, overlooking nothing, not even the way her curly black hair trembled in the breeze. I took in her delicate features, memorized the shape of her cheek bones, the lilt of her shoulders and marveled at her lightening blue eyes following trains of thought I may never be privy to. It made me sad in a way I couldn’t understand, and before I knew it, I was inches from her.
She turned, surprised eyes on me and on impulse, I kissed her. My lips lightly brushed hers for no more than a second, and then two pairs of wide eyes locked in incredulity.
A hot blush crept across my nose and cheeks and I pulled away from her in fear that I had just ruined everything. For a few seconds I stared at my shoes, but when I had mastered the courage to peek at her, relief swelled like a balloon in my chest.
Her cheeks were a deep shade of rose but her eyes were clear of angry storm clouds and my trepidation eased. In fact, a small smile had risen to her lips.
Gently I took hold of one of her callused hands and back on the dance floor we twirled slowly, not breaking stride as the music again became fast, talking quietly till the DJ went home.