The Kiss: The Fall

It’s three a.m., two weeks since that first kiss, and we are sitting outside my sister Emma’s apartment in her car.

She’s fresh off of work, still in uniform; she looks like heaven on Earth.

I am restless. Bouncing between my parents house, Jake’s house, and Emma’s place. Trying to figure out how to start over for the first time in eight years, alone.

Just having her near quiets the storm in my mind.

She’s talking about her best friends wedding in a few days in Florida. How she took off work for it, and I am excited for her but I can’t concentrate. All I see is her lips moving fluidly with each syllable.

She finally stops talking and asks if I’m okay.

“Jake doesn’t understand. I can’t stay there. He keeps thinking I’m going to change my mind and that this is a phase.”

She looks solemn.

“He’s hurting.”

“I know.”

Silence.

I fidget absentmindedly.

“Something’s on your mind,” she starts. She always has this uncanny ability to tell when I’m lost in thought.

“You’re going to be gone for four whole days. Is it stupid that I feel kind of panicky?”

“Oh, baby…”

She reaches over and grabs my left hand and it rests perfectly in hers.

“It will be okay. I’ll still have a few days off when I get back.”

“I’ll miss you like crazy.”

“I’ll miss you more. But what can you do?”

“I don’t know. Just love you I guess.”

It slipped out so fast I wasn’t even sure I had said it. We weren’t even officially seeing each other and it had only been two weeks.

I said it so quietly that I thought maybe she hadn’t heard me. And she was so still I thought that if she had heard me, I probably just freaked her out.

But then she reached over and lifted my chin up so I was looking her in the eyes.

“Do you?”

My heart races and I feel slightly dizzy. I’ve always been a commitment-phobe. I was always the last one to acquiesce when it came to feelings.

“I think so. I think I do.”

She doesn’t reply. And I know I just fucked up.

But I didn’t.

She let’s go of my hand and pulls the ring off her left hand. One of two matching stainless steel bands that say, “Amor Vincit Omnia: Love Conquers All” and she slips it on my finger.

We get out of her car to smoke and I know she’s getting ready to leave me. To go home and pack for Florida, and let me alone with my crazy imagination.

She bounces around while she smokes, hopping on and off the curb.

I flick my butt into the road and stand in front of her, looking up into her face.

“Is it too much too soon? To say I love you?”

She wraps her arms around me and I feel her lips against my ear. Her warm breath sends shivers down my spine.

“Oh, baby girl,” she whispers. “I’ve loved you for a long time, now.”

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The Kiss: Cause and Effect

He towered over me at six foot four.

He and his two best friends could often be found in the cafeteria; lugging around two liters of Faygo, screaming at the tops of their lungs, drawing the ire of every adult within a half of a mile radius.

He was obnoxious, crude, had a shitty home life and a bad attitude.

He was the perfect rebellious rebound.

It was a whirlwind relationship of heavy metal and cigarettes. Late nights in the park, followed by weekends of riding around in his best friends pile of crap Jeep. More cigarettes, some alcohol, even worse decisions.

It wasn’t long before I got restless in this relationship as well. It flatlined like a drowning victim, and left me panicky, desperate for a way out.

That way out manifested itself in the form of a cell phone flying at my face faster than I could duck.

I don’t even remember what we were arguing about, but I wore the evidence of that fight on my lower lip for ten days.

And get out I did.

It seemed like a clean break until his best friend started showing interest in me.

Suddenly, he was the most attentive, loving boyfriend that ever graced the hallways of that high school.

Everyone always stands on the outside with an opinion. They group together like an audience waiting for a train wreck.

“Why did she take him back?”

“Didn’t she see the red flags?”

“Once an abuser, always an abuser.”

“Maybe she doesn’t think she deserves better.”

It was none of those reasons.

It was all of those reasons.

He begged me to sleep with him, and I relented.

He wore a condom.

The condom never broke.

It’s nothing to me if you believe that last sentence or not. There’s no deep dark secret lingering over my conscience. I was there, I put the fucking thing on myself, and I still wound up the way I did.

Sixteen and pregnant.

My mom knew before I did.

It probably had something to do with me sleeping almost all day every day.

She never thought it was drugs, she simply confronted me and dropped that sentence like a lead brick.

“You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”

I took the test at a coworkers house in the country with the smell of cow shit wafting in the tiny bathroom. I had one arm over my face, and one hand poised under my crotch trying to simultaneously breathe through my mouth and not piss on my hand at the same time.

One blue line. A blue plus sign.

I stared at my face in the mirror.

Failing high school, a boyfriend that hit me but promised it wouldn’t happen again, whose greatest ambition in life was to sit on his ass and play World of Warcraft.

And I didn’t cry.

I wondered how I was going to tell him. I wondered what I was going to do with my own life, what my family would say.

But I didn’t cry.

A week after my mom confronted me about it, and after a long drawn out discussion about how I should consider abortion, I finally told him.

We sat together. On his bed. He didn’t respond to me.

“Are you deaf? Will you say something?”

Nothing.

“I can do this alone. I don’t need anything from you. I don’t want anything from you.”

I stood up to leave and before I could register what happened, a giant hand snapped around my wrist and yanked me so hard I felt my neck snap backwards.

“Don’t you tell me how to live my life. Who the fuck are you?”

Words jagged, like broken glass. I felt the blood drain from my face.

“I didn’t mean anything by it-”

“Shut up. Just shut the fuck up and let me think.”

But he still had me in a death grip, and he was pulling me onto his bed.

Something feels all wrong. Like standing in a funhouse in front of the mirrors, and the world is upside down; all you have to do is walk away. But you can’t. Your brain is screaming at your legs to move. But they won’t. And this is no dream.

I lean to the side and push up onto my elbow, intending to get off the bed, but he slams the heel of his free hand into my chest and I’m flat on my back staring at the ceiling.

I feel a sob clawing its way up my throat. A sound of utter desperation. I don’t want to give him that satisfaction.

“Don’t you fucking dare.”

I swallow hard. Blink. Swallow. Blink again. Swallow harder.

He sits on me, straddles me. One leg beside my right hip, the other leg wedged between my knees. I stare into his eyes, but I won’t beg for him to get off. Not a chance.

He leans back, and for one millisecond I relax. I think he is regretting his initial thought. That he won’t go through with it.

Then that free hand… It travels down my chest to my waist and clamps on.

I feel each and every individual finger digging into the tender flesh above my hip bone. I feel his thumb gouging me below my belly button. I hear his heavy breaths quicken.

I feel fucking sick.

His other hand releases the grip on my wrist and I barely notice the blood rushing back into my numb fingers.

He trails it over my left breast, pausing to pinch my nipple, taking the fact that it responds to his touch as all the permission he needs.

He’s unbuttoning my pants, then ripping them off my legs. I don’t even lift them up to help- they are dead and lifeless. Moving quicker now, pausing only to free himself from his jeans.

I feel him. Impossibly large, pushing against me. I’m not ready- I’m not ready!

He forces his way in, grunting with the effort.

He uses his right hand to gain more leverage by grasping my other side in the same way as his left hand, and it feels as though his fingers will puncture my skin.

I lie so still I think I’ve died.

I turn my head to the side and stare at the wall.

There is a feather line crack in the plaster, and the words “Fuck This Noise” written in black pen below it.

I hear my heart beating my ears.

I lie so still I hope I’ve died.

He hovers over me, thrusting, his sweat dripping on my face.

I wait.

I feel the bile sitting in the back of my throat, burning.

I hear my breath moving trough my lungs.

I lie so still and wish I could kill him.

He comes inside me and pushes himself off. I feel empty. Worse than empty. I feel gutted.

He leaves the room. Wanders off toward the bathroom.

I sit up slowly and reach for my pants.

Blink. Swallow hard.

I get my legs in, feeling as uncoordinated as a two year old.

I just get them buttoned when he appears in the doorway.

“If I would have known you were just going to lay there, I wouldn’t have fucking bothered.”

Some people need to be beaten before they make a change. Some people need to be broken.

Some people need to be walked on, to be chewed up and spit out. Rode hard and put away wet, as my mom would say.

After that day, I left him. For good.

And I didn’t see him again until our daughter was three months old.

Remi.

She is clothed in April

Her skin is rainwater

And she slips through my fingers as such.

The jade of her eyes fade languidly to obsidian

They hold my gaze forcefully

They caress my soul and coax my heart out from hiding

It’s both frightening and exhilarating at once.

Her footsteps are the autumn leaves

Landing softly on the forest floor

Never leaving any sign of permanence, but lifting in the slightest breeze and alighting somewhere new.

Everything she touches becomes gold

Infused with her history

Each thumbprint masked in extraordinary swirls of stories

That would take a lifetime to translate.

Her face is a cloud

She lies softly on my chest

Her inhale is the breath that draws my very being into her

Her exhale is the soft echo of her love for me.

Pure and unrelenting.

As I lay here in her arms, I am whole. I am unified with the world.

I am transfixed by the sweep of soft hair across her lovely forehead.

I am captivated by each eyelash, the gentle curve of her lips.

Her body is a temple I yearn to worship. The brushstroke of her hips, the side of her breast pressed to my cheek.

I am quiet, I am so still.

I will not wake her.

Instead, I will turn my head slowly to lay a stolen kiss upon the remarkable woman who holds my heart.

And in keeping it has made it her own.

The Kiss: Fallout

I light my third cigarette quickly, so my mom doesn’t see my hand shaking.

If she is shocked at all, she doesn’t show it.

Mom, I like girls.

Because I’m 26 years old, and I text my mom to tell her I’m gay.

She just laughs it off, and tells me to come home. To come stay at the house. That she would be the last person to tell me to try to make it work with Jake if I’m not happy.

I lean my forehead on the heel of my hand and exhale slowly. Smoke curls around my wrist, and dances up past my fingertips, the thick scent of tobacco resting in my unruly hair.

“So, what are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know, mom. I think I’m going to stay there until spring. Stick it out until winter is over, then try to find a place.”

She looks at me skeptically.

“It’s the most practical. I don’t have the money to get a place for the kids and I right now.”

Silence.

I pick at my fingernail until it bleeds. All ten of them are ragged; chewed to the quick.

“What did Jake say when you told him?”

“I haven’t told him. Only that I’m leaving. I don’t know what good it would do me to tell him I’m a lesbian. I can’t answer the questions he will ask.”

More silence. I chew on my fingernail some more. Bite. Spit. The sting. The tiny line of blood.

“You’ll have to tell him. Eventually. He deserves to know.”

“He deserves a lot of things I can’t give him. Like an explanation.”

I snatch my half empty pack of cigarettes and make for the screen door. The giant Siberian husky laying in front of it barely lifts his head when I open it into him.

“Just think about it. That’s all I’m saying.”

“Mmmmhmm,”

I shove the door harder and the dog slowly gets up and wanders out of my way.

“And Cami?”

I turn around and meet her gaze.

“Your mother loves you no matter what. Everyone else will either come around, or they will get over it.”

I nod softly and let the door fall shut behind me.

The Kiss: On Life

Life is where you stand.

It’s happening all around you.

It’s the wind that stirs up seemingly out of nowhere, and rushes by you, ruffling your hair and rumpling your clothes.

It kicks the sand up into your eyes and sends tears streaming down your face.

It spins you around until you’re years away from where you were standing only a moment ago.

And it leaves you breathless, confused, shaking, wanting..

It’s life.

And it doesn’t give a fuck if you’re ready or not.

The Kiss: Chasing the Sun

I lost my virginity when I was fifteen.

My mom found out a month after it happened. It wasn’t intentional- it was a horrible urinary tract infection that put me into a panic.

Two years of pro abstinence health class had me convinced I’d saddled up with some insane sexually transmitted disease and was going to die.

Horribly ashamed and terrified, I fessed up on a car ride across town so she couldn’t look me in the eye.

She slammed her hands on the steering wheel and cursed at me.

“Goddamit, I’m not ready for this!”

I blinked back tears and felt like a failure.

It wasn’t how I pictured it- it was supposed to be like the movies. The boy romances the girl, professes his undying love for her, and it’s incredible and slow. His sure hands caress her body, and they climax together and finish in a sweet embrace.

The reality of the situation was he had no fucking clue what he was doing, and I ended up laying there alone while he went to clean up with a lump in my throat and a week of antibiotics.

We had been “going out” for three months and had absolutely nothing in common. There were no butterflies, no sweet promises of forever. Just sloppy kisses with too much tongue and rough hands that left me sore and disappointed.

This was sex?

Weren’t all my friends raving about orgasms and boys and dick size?

I finished the meds and kept sleeping with him for two more months before I started inventing excuses to get out of being alone with him.

I told my friends he was incredible, and they held on to my every word like it was gospel. I was part of this exclusive club in this hick town. The girls looked at me in awe, and the boys started tossing around the word slut.

I started wearing hoodies constantly and dying my hair different colors. I wanted so badly to be invisible but noticed at the same time.

Class became mundane, I quit doing homework and started sneaking off to the computer lab during Trig to google quantum physics.

I was that girl that people started crossing the hallway to avoid. Dangerous, dark, moody.

I finally summed up the nerve to dump him at the end of summer. He cried until snot started running down his face, begging me not to leave him, that he didn’t know who he was without me.

Who was I to hand him an identity when I didn’t have one of my own?

Two weeks later, I found out he had been sleeping with the one girl in the school I hated the most. While we were supposedly together.

Four months later, I met the man that would destroy my entire high school life, and effectively ruin who I was.

Bared.

When I started this blog last week, I wasn’t expecting any followers.

Mind you, I’m not so conceited as to think I’m the only one out there with a story like this.

Someone else that would relate to the pain and the elation, the incredible high of a kiss to the devastating low of the crumbling of a long term relationship.

So, readers, imagine my surprise when I received the notification that I already had ten people tuning in.

Some of you might be wondering if The Kiss is a true story.

It is.

Just a small fragment of what has blossomed into the most rewarding relationship I have experinced in my life so far.

I haven’t posted the next part of it yet on account of not knowing where to take it next.

When so much has happened over the past year, it’s hard to remember it chronologically.

That’s where my best friend, Mel, comes into play.

She suggested what she remembered happening next, and that’s what I’m going to do.

So sorry it’s been over a week since my last post, but I promise you the next installment of The Kiss will be here to read soon.

Very soon.

Because as my beautiful girlfriend Remi reminds me- Not every story has to be written perfectly; It just has to be told.

So thank you, followers. Not just for reading my blog- but for sharing your story as well.

Keep writing, and believing.

-Cami