Kissing Jenna, When I Was Fifteen

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I hit the peak frequency of making out my sophomore year of high school.

At the time I was dating Jenna, a short blonde girl from New Jersey who had her father’s adoration for classic rock and her mother’s attitude. She and I went to different high schools, but every Sunday, my parents would drop me off at her house before lunch, and I would spend all afternoon with her.

We would start by having lunch. Sometimes it was mac and cheese or a sandwich, other times it was just leftovers from the fridge. While we made food, I would chitchat with her parents. While eating we watched her brothers, one younger and one older, play violent video games.

Finally, we would make the move both of us had been waiting for: the walk upstairs. We would deposit our plates into the sink, slowly slink down the hallway and upstairs into her room. As I lay down on her twin bed, she would close the door almost the entire way before joining me on the bed.

She would play a song from her stereo by the bed. We would casually talk about our week as if we didn’t already know everything that had happened from our hour long phone calls every night. Then, without hesitation, we would kiss.

For three hours, it was like I wasn’t ever breathing. We would just kiss. Kiss and kiss and kiss; my hands rubbing down her back, across her jeans, over her shirt, through her hair. We would pause to put a new CD into the stereo, to exchange a few words, to catch our breath, to reapply Chap Stick.

The sun would set as we stared at each other with our faces pressed against each other, lips smacking and tongues dancing. About the time the football game ended, she and I would walk back downstairs and climb into the car and her father would bring me home, blasting Journey the whole way.

I’ll be honest: the relationship really wasn’t that great. She had a sort of apathy towards the future that bothered me. But that’s not the point. This is.

When we kissed, nothing else mattered.When we kissed, it didn’t matter that I had school the next day or that I had a bad week. It didn’t matter that I had homework to do or that maybe I wasn’t happy in this relationship. It was someone spending her time attached to me. There was something about my lips and my hands and my hair that she wanted.

But the greatest part was the complete lack of pressure of pushing it. We were fifteen and we were both too scared to take our pants off. All that mattered were the two red puffy things right below our respective noses. Maybe that puts me into some sort of odd minority. But for a kid with deep-seated intimacy issues and a fear of rejection, it was a good place to be.

Now I’m nineteen and kissing is just a boring stepping-stone to get to a final destination. Sure it’s fun at first, but who would do it for three hours non-stop with no expectation of it going anywhere else.

There is a novelty of just kissing. It’s like finding some toy in the attic that you used to play with when you were ten. You play with it for a few minutes, but once the nostalgia wears off, you return it to the box and pick up your iPad.

But let me be clear: I’m not some celibacy-advocate who thinks sex should be reserved until after marriage. That is your fucking decision (see what I did there?). If I could be having sex right now, trust me, I would be, but my point is that it really sucks that we treat all the really great things that we used to treasure like the second child of the cousin we don’t really like that much. TC mark

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