Friday, January 6, 2012

Not My First Kiss, But Kinda Of An Important One

There was this girl.

Her name was Nell Phillips, and in sixth grade she was a pariah and for no real reason. You know grade-school kids: they will target one person out of nowhere to be the ostracized community joke and she was it. I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk in her shoes back then; all you did was exist and suddenly the rest of the world as you knew it hated you for that one simple fact. I was an eight-year-old bastard. I went along with it—probably for the same reason everyone else did—as long as they are talking about HER they might not notice what a freak I am.

It was my brother’s high school graduation. Somehow, I ended up sitting next to Nell. Her sister was on the roster as well. Partly because the whole thing was so desperately boring, but mostly because I did not want to be seen in her company, I turned to her and whispered, “Let’s get out of here.” We scampered off. Of course at that age I was too clueless to get that us being seen leaving together by the other grade school kids with siblings graduating in the gymnasium could be viewed as an alliance with the horrid Nell.

We ended up on a staircase. She was funny, made me laugh and unfortunately anyone, to this day who can do that, makes me want to kiss them. So I did. I wrapped my arms around her and planted one on her face. I was in sixth grade, so you can imagine how inelegant this display of affection might have been. I don’t think any tongues were involved. Didn’t matter; at that age I might as well been Ron Jeremy. Got some; but then oh shit: I just lip locked Nell Phillips, whom the whole world hates.

Grade school on Monday was not fun. People saw; they talked. “Hey now,” I lied, “ I just left with her so I could make fun of her. You know me—I’m the insult king!” (Sadly, a reputation that has not left me. It must be true, then. Apparently I’m a dick on all counts.) My protestations worked. The kids bought it. Nell tried to talk to me but because other sixth-graders were watching me, I ignored her. She looked crestfallen, probably because she thought there was one kid in her school that didn’t hate her but then I pulled the rug out from under her and she was back to being the fucking joke for everyone.

We all got out of grade school and went our separate ways.

Nell went to high school, things got a little but not much better and I landed in koo-koo Christian academy. Years passed and the neighbor boy I was having sex with was a friend with Nell so I ended up seeing her again. She rocked. Hysterically funny, still, not bad looking at all. We ended up, alone, in her bedroom. She was playing me Rick Springfield cuts that never made it to the radio—to this day I will concede they were cool as shit. I was eighteen and trying to prove to myself I wasn’t gay despite an overriding fondness for cocksucking, so it happened again, all these years later: I grabbed her, wrapped my arms around her waist and planted one on her. This time tongues were definitely involved.

She shoved away. “What the hell are you doing?” To me, the answer to the question was obvious (ignoring the subtext, of course.) “Hey,” I said, which was all I could really think of to say at that moment.

“No. NO!” she said.

I replayed this to friends I wasn’t fucking as “Oh my God, I was making out with Nell and she just went crazy right in the middle of it.” At eighteen, I was still a sixth-grader.

Things have changed a little. Just not as much as I wish.

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