My first kiss was with a woman. A girl, really--we were both girls.
I was barely fifteen, she not quite. We were in our first year of high school, meeting again for the first time in years.
It was New Year's Eve. We kissed in the snow as the fireworks went off. It was perfect.
It started as a dare, something shocking and reckless, to kiss one another on the cheek. She was telling us, the group of about seven girls clustered together on the bed, talking about school and boys and silly things, that this was something she did with her other friends. Kisses on the cheek were "no big thing". So, giggling among ourselves, we tried it.
Lips pressed to cheeks. Some of us too shy ducked and bowed our heads away at the last minute. I leaned right in. It made my stomach flutter to kiss her cheek. She smelled like foundation and baby powder and something else, something floral, probably from her hair.
She went to the other high school in town. She didn't recognize me when we greeted each other in the cramped, wet mud room of our mutual friend's house. We had met before at a school program that drew in students from all the elementary schools once a week to do projects and collaborate as teams.
I noticed her even then. I wanted to be her friend. I wanted to talk to her. She seemed cool. But we were never put on the same team, and I never spoke up.
It seemed like fate that we were put together that night, then. My urge, my need, to know her only intensified that night. It was a desire, even as my fifteen-year-old self didn't quite know what that could, or would, mean.
We kissed on the cheek and sat chatting all night. We arranged our sleeping bags next to each other. We sat next to each other at dinner.
Then as the ball dropped and we went shrieking out into the snow, twirling and throwing snowballs and yelling our resolutions to the New Year's air, I asked if I could kiss her again, not on the cheek this time. She said yes.
It was perfect.