My first kiss was when I was 16 or so. I was new at an all-girls boarding school, and we went to this horrible thing called a social at some neighbouring boys’ school. It was the first and last time I went to one.
I was shortsighted but I was persuaded to leave my glasses behind. I was overly skinny following the usual angsty reasons – or whatever it is that causes girls to suffer for that sharp satisfying feel of their hips under their hands, like weapons – and I was squeezed into some tight-fitting outfit or other. Whether it was because I was new blood, whether it was because I was dolled up and neurotically frail, like some wading bird stuck in a fishing line, bait on a hook, calling to the masculine instincts to conquer/care for the vulnerable… I got some attention from the those blurry boys skulking like dogs around the rim of the room. I was told one of the boarder’s friends wanted to kiss me. My insides ran screaming for the door, while I went and hid in the bathroom for a while. How long was this thing supposed to go on for? Who was watching me? I couldn’t see a bloody thing. I wanted my glasses and a T-shirt. Instead I got passed a bottle of Passion Pop. Dutch or bogan courage.
Another dog-boy came skulking by. In an impulsive spirit of ‘let’s get this over with then,’ I said not more than hello, then launched myself around his neck, not being able to stand the niceties and preferring to cut straight to the slaughter. The kiss was awful. Slimy, awkward, not in the least sensual. I must have looked like I was chopping onions or doing the ironing, my hips were straining to avoid his erection. Some other dog-boys came howling up and circled us, pressing in, pushing us together, pressing me against his the hardness through his jeans. I remember laughing, acting brave! And then the unimaginative kissing, the hands resting on my arse, and me just waiting, waiting, waiting for it to be over.
Finally, finally, the school bus is leaving to take us back to our girls school full of girls. Oh thank Christ. I think I say thanks, and I think he asks my name. I spit on the lawn before I get on the bus, and stare blindly out the darkened window as it rolls through the groomed, shining private school grounds. So much privilege, like silken threads wound tight and gleaming around a slimy, slimy tongue and groping, unadventurous hands. Bossy blind hands, a train following the rails in the dark.