There’s something so very innocent about your first kiss, and yet, it can leave you feeling exposed. Your first real kiss is a milestone in your life when you start waving goodbye to your innocence. Do you remember your first kiss? I’ve yet to find a person who does not remember their first kiss. My innocence, many would say, is long gone, but it feels like it wasn’t so long ago that it was fully intact. Before high school, my peers and anyone who knew me, thought I was undeniably innocent. And I guess, for a decent part of my life, I was. Even to this day, I do not think I have had the multitude of experiences as my friends (when it comes down to the number and one night stands). For most of my life’s journey, I have had my one person.

I’ve heard many stories of others having their first kiss in elementary school. That wasn’t me. That wasn’t even me in middle school. That was me in high school. It wasn’t that I was shy. It wasn’t that boys didn’t want to. It wasn’t that I didn’t go after what I wanted–because, believe me, I did and still do. I just didn’t want to. Okay, that is not exactly true. I did want to, but I wanted it to be perfect. Expectations–are what I had, and none of the boys I knew could come anywhere near close.

A romantic at six years old, I remember writing love stories on an almost-daily basis. I was already dreaming about my first kiss, while girls my age were dreaming about being a princess or their wedding day (and some were already kissing under the “kissing tree” at recess). I created my own perfect romance through my stories. I thought up the most picturesque setting–the time, place, and season of the year. I didn’t have a specific guy in mind; I hadn’t found one I thought was worthy (not even my elementary school boyfriends)!

There had been times when I was so close to surrendering.

Saying good-bye to my fifth grade boyfriend after we exchanged Christmas presents, we knew we wouldn’t see each other for weeks. He walked me down the halls of our school at dismissal time. He looked at me and I, at him. We stood staring into each others’ eyes for a little while. Finally, I decided on giving him a small peck on the cheek. We grinned at each other with the biggest smiles– young and naive, and others said, cute. And not ready for more yet.

Soon, it was sixth grade and there was a new boy capturing my attention. He complimented me often–smart guy, stared at me in that oh-so-special way, and he gave me butterflies. The day I found out he was moving, I felt my first, minor heartbreak. There was a big farewell party for him at a friend’s house in the early summer. I had planned to kiss him that night. I bought him a bag of Hershey’s kisses, and I planned on handing them to him and telling him I had one more kiss for him (cheesy, I know, but that has always been me). But as we were alone, staring at each other and getting closer, his friends interrupted by shooting us with water-guns. Well, this was middle school. What do you expect?

High school was when I met the guy who really picked up my heart rate. Soon after meeting, I was giving in–all the plans I had about my first kiss went out the window. It was not as picturesque. To an outsider, it really was not all that romantic. But all the feeling behind it made it incredible to me. All of my senses were on high alert and extremely sensitive. I was immersed in the smell that was only him. I could hear his ragged laugh from behind his gorgeous smile. When we made contact, I could feel his soft, smooth lips flesh against mine. I could taste his winter-green gum. I could see his eyes staring right back at me when I opened my own. I could read the longing and passion from his expression and simple movements. Everything I had thought I wanted to happen with my first kiss was dismissed, and things became so much more intense than I could have ever imagined. My innocence rapidly started to fade away the more time I spent with him–and truthfully, I loved every second of it. Today, many years later, my daily thoughts are the complete opposite of innocent.

I wonder, are you less innocent with the more people you kiss? Or does a number not matter at all? Although some of my friends have had multiple different experiences with different people, I’ve had over a decade with the same person. No matter the number, I believe that the first real kiss is the beginning of the end to one’s innocence. And nothing is wrong with it–that’s just the way it is.

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