What is an ideal first kiss?
It is when a beat-up copy of The Scarlet Letter is conveniently stretched out on my hands, coincidentally the same position I would assign to my legs the moment you lower your Mark Twain just beneath your grey eyes.
My own eyes will shift from the once gripping lines of the author to those wide, bright circles — gleaming yet questioning. And we travel from words to images to abstract thoughts.
As if we stumbled upon an incomprehensible passage — just as I will never understand why women derive a pleasure from needlework — we won’t be able to understand how an outside force manages to pull us together.
And when the right timing comes along, it is the soft, unhurried union of lips, akin to calmly closing a book so that its two faces meet. Bodies are smashed against the bookshelves, filling the gaps between the pieces of literature that serve as the act’s silent witnesses.
Your breath mix with the smell of Shakespeare’s yellowing pages, and I fondly close my eyes as I allow my nose to welcome the two greatest scents in the world.
They say that there are two ways of falling in love with a book: courtly and carnal. There is no doubt about your choice. You hold me as if you’re afraid to rip a page from your favorite book, believing that you can never separate the form from its content and so you have to be careful not to lose the book’s innocent and perfect chastity.
In every book, I realize, there are hundreds of kissing pages and I wonder whether those tiny, escalating bits of sensation your lips feel against mine, and vice versa, could pass as a book’s complex metaphor.
Because for a near-minute, as we kiss, we have relived the wide range of feelings I only encounter through a good tale.
Just as you are hesistant to leave markings on a page, you are careful not to leave words on my lips. So that when we restore the physical gap between us, I am eager to flip through the pages of the book again, hoping that comprehension shall finally dawn into me. Literally and otherwise.
But what if we can never distinguish which is more real between kissing and reading? Or if the two could ever lead us somewhere beyond the dream state?
What is an ideal first kiss?
It is when Paul, Ringo, George and John handsomely conspire to keep us at home on a Friday afternoon. My parents are out, and (we should be making out) we should be talking about the film script you’ll help me create.
We sit on the couch — less than a meter apart — as we bang our heads even to the tune of ballads. You ask me under whose Beatle stereotype shall I place you. I answered, teasingly, John.
Your boyish grin is priceless. But instantly displaying your John-state-of-mind, you become skeptic — as if my answer needs a thorough, logical explanation.
I love how you seek the truth. I love how your profundity seeps through my wits.
I chose not to ask you back. I like to think that I am a George. No, it is not a feeling of isolation; it is more of the INTP kind of thing which justifies my silence and meditation — and the thud of my heart — as we move closer on the couch.
Because when a song like I Wanna Hold Your Hand plays in background, we know we don’t need words. Or quick wits. Or skepticism. Or logical explanations.
With our fingers locked, you lean over slowly, almost hesitantly, until the tip of our noses touch. As soon as the first beat of the second verse catches in, your lips are already on mine.
How can I describe this kiss with an upbeat, pop Beatles tune?
That it is as stripped down as the song’s lyrics, where feelings transcend the simple words. That its rhythm jives with the rhythm of our grasps for air. That its candy-like womps are as sweet as your lips. That the melody and your kiss compete for space and permanence in my brain — and I would gladly hold a tie for that matter.
And it is as simple as that. You hold my hand. You kiss my lips. The song is over.
It is only when the song and the kiss stop and we lock our eyes with one another’s that the semantics shall actually matter. Or maybe not at all.
But what if, in its after-effects, the kiss will hung unto us more than the repetitive melody and lyrics do? What if it will take us long to find another that will remove or replace this sensation, much like what a last song syndrome does to us?
What is an ideal first kiss?
It is when we launch ourselves to the greatest things the (physical) universe can offer, above and below. We are engulfed by the sea’s pearly vastness as we slump by the seaside; our naked eyes watch the stars and the darkness.
Nothing is more serene. Because we are both champions of irony, we chose to break this calm not by words and sounds, but by feelings.
As we alternate drinking cheap vodka (or its child-friendly counterpart) and cursing society, you purposedly or accidentally, whichever is true, brush my feet with yours as they childishly swing back and forth above the rocks.
In our heads, we try to count the stars in the giant black veil above us although we know it’s dumb and impossible, just as we are well aware that assigning numbers to something is like assigning limits, restrictions, a life span.
Isn’t it more practical and easier to describe things in words rather than to quantify? We can simply say that the stars are plenty, because in that way we’ll never have to worry defining “enough”, “forever”, and “infinite”.
Even so I am not sure which of those two methods is more appropriate to describe the moment when you pull me closer to you, brushing my left cheek with your thumb, and how I realize a little late that while my eyes voluntarily close, you lean forward and lock your lips on mine.
In numbers: three heart beats skipped, two strands of hair on my palm, five fingers navigating through your neck, three counts of breath, twenty seconds of pleasure.
In words: It was unhurried yet passionate, shuts my system with the heightening, piercing sound that dissolves every beat of life around us. And though my tastebuds succumb to a minor role, the rest of my sensory system works double-time.
After the kiss, we lie on the grounds face-to-face. I realize that silent gazing into each other’s eyes is so much better than star gazing. Because no matter how long we gape at the stars, we can never comprehend the narratives interlaced with their brightness, but we can always find our way to each other’s mind through our eyes.
A simple fixed look could mean several things: “It was great”, “I enjoyed it”, “I would like to do it again.” But if we dissect these vague statements, we can possibly find the terms “goodbye”, “over”, and worst, “never”.
Coincidentally, just like in movies, a display of colorful fireworks ensues — and then reality slaps us in the face to make us remember that a kiss is similar to this temporary spectacle: fading, limited, made to amaze but never satisfy.
I wonder if you ever bother to look at your watch while we’re here, or if you run a countdown of minutes left in your head. We both know this will end, anyway.
The physical act only supplements the metaphysical — but then abstract reasoning that leads to nothing could leave us more ravaged than ending a kiss. The physical is safer. There’s always means of escape.
A kiss could be the better rite of passage than a heart left ajar for an unexpected visitor. A kiss is more ideal than falling for you.
But idealism is always meant to be shattered.
“It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learned from our study of the Dreamwork and of the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of that is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations…. It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.” (Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, p. 105–6)