Love hits us all differently, and firsts are sometimes the most painful memories to recall. Firsts are the memories that never leave you. I remember the first time I got into a fight in grade school. I remember the first time I split my lip open playing softball. I remember my first day at both of my high schools. I remember my first car accident. I remember the flow of blood when I got my first stitches. Firsts live on in our memories well after our first times have passed. This is why Cupid is a little bastard. No one ever has a good first memory of getting shot by his arrow. No one has a good first love.
It was bland. Dead lips and cold fingertips bland. He was a womanizer and I just a girl naïveté. My friend accompanied us to the movies as a clever cover, but became an added bonus for his teenaged testosterone. Arms around us both, he complained of an ouchie on his hand, which I kissed away. Then his shoulder and neck, and finally, his lips. It was a peck. Plain pursed lips with a pop. And that was it for me. He turned to my friend and kissed her too. Her last name was Bland.
By Nicole Neitzke
Thinking back, I still remember how giddy I was whenever he was in the same room, or when someone mentioned his name. We were in my parents’ garage on a warm, October Friday night when he asked me to be his girlfriend. I said, “yes.” Of course I wanted to be his girlfriend. Nothing would make my sixteen-year-old self happier than to hold his hand between Biology and History; the classrooms were on opposite sides of our enormous high school campus. He went in for the kiss: my first kiss. I panicked and turned my head so he kissed the side of my face, just where lips end and cheek begins. I was mortified. I joked it off and said, “That was my first kiss, and I ruined it. Can we try again?” He smiled at me and kissed me. It was still awkward, but I had finally gotten my first kiss, and I was high on happiness and excitement. We dated another twelve days before I decided I didn’t want a boyfriend. I was a heartbreaking bitch. Sorry, Daryl.
By Allison Bellows
Looking back, I’m not sure why I brought a friend on the date. A date with a boy whose name I can no longer remember, except for the fact that it began with the letter “J.” It was just a thing that you did when you were young and nervous. When the thought of being alone with someone of the opposite sex—the awkward pauses in conversation, the thumping of your heart against your ribs—was enough to make your stomach turn. We sat together, myself plopped between them, at the top row of the large, dark auditorium. A movie played on screen—a film whose name I also can’t remember. My head remained forward, but out of the corner of my eye, I watched as the boy’s hand inched closer to my own, which I had casually placed on the seat, near my thigh. Near his thigh. I avoided looking in my friend’s direction. I was sure she could see right through me. My palms began to sweat, and I quickly wiped them on my jeans. He lifted his index finger, trailing it up and down my hand. I could feel his head leaning close to mine, and I leaned in too. The date had been my friend’s idea. He told her he liked me. She asked if I did too. I hardly knew him. He was just a face in a class—one of many. I didn’t feel anything for this boy. But I was fifteen and wanted to be kissed, so I leaned in and let him.
By Melanie Figueroa
Fancy dresses traded for comfortable pajamas, makeup washed down the drain, and suits exchanged for shorts and t-shirts. I remember the cool burn of alcohol sliding down the back of my throat as I took a sip of my drink. Young, carefree, and toasting to our senior year, we gathered in the back room of our friend’s house. A post-homecoming game of Truth or Dare fueled by a fridge packed with beer and various malt liquor beverages in dewy glass bottles. Emboldened by our various poisons of choice, we skipped straight to the risqué—lap dances, secrets best left unsaid. Someone dared you to make out with me for thirty seconds, everyone in the group—including you—oblivious to my inexperience. In that moment I could’ve experienced some amazing. I could lie and say I swooned at the way your soft lips felt on mine. But the truth is that night is nothing but a hazy memory for both of us, clouded by the effects of inebriation and overshadowed by the bolder tasks of the night.
By Tiffany Shelton
Every time my lips get chapped I feel the pain, pleasure, and excitement of what it was like to be a thirteen year old girl being told she was pretty and kissed for the first time. I wish I remembered the boy’s name. I think it was Victor, but I’ll never be sure. He was new to the trailer park I grew up in and we were both at the same playground. I was with my two-year-old little sister and he was jogging around the field to get in shape to play football the next day with some of the boys from the neighborhood. Poncho, the varsity football player at my first high school, had been a friend of mine since I could remember. Victor wanted to impress him in the game they were to play tomorrow. I guess I was a distraction, though. I never thought of myself as pretty; I still don’t, but Victor came over to me while I was taking my little sister down a slide and started to talk to me. We didn’t really know each other. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember how painfully chapped my lips were. It was winter, I think, and I have the bad habit of licking my lips. My sister was playing with the giant spinning tic-tac-toe and Victor moved close to me. He asked if I had ever been kissed before. I said no. He said he hadn’t either, and then he looked me in the eyes and said I was pretty. We were both about thirteen years old. I told him my lips were chapped. He said it was okay. He leaned in and he kissed me. It hurt, but I liked it. I liked him. I didn’t really know him, but I liked that he liked me. He asked if we could French kiss then, and I said no. I was flustered and confused and had my little sister to take care of. I told him tomorrow I’d be back, without my sister, and we could kiss again then. He said okay. I came the next day and he was there, but so were Poncho and the other boys from the neighborhood. Victor ignored me to play football. I never really talked to Victor, if that was his name, again.
By Amanda Riggle
Hopefully your firsts turned out better than ours, and this Valentine’s day Cupid won’t be such an asshole to you.
You can follow Amanda on Twitter @ThePandaBard, on Pinterest @ThePandaBard, or on Medium @ThePandaBard. You can also find her research on Academia.Edu at Cpp.Academia.Edu/MandaRiggle.