I don’t remember my first taste of steak, but my mother does, and she’s told the story so many times it feels like memory. I was only two and we lived in Hopatcong, NJ at the time, and were visiting my (maternal) grandmother in NYC. My parents were eating dinner and fed me a small piece of steak. Now, here’s the thing, I wasn’t really too keen on solid food yet. I would always spit it out, so I don’t know what possessed them to try a piece of steak of all things. They thought they were triumphant since I didn’t spit it right back out. About an hour later, we left for the hour drive home. When we arrived my mother noticed I was chewing and wondered what I had in my precious little mouth. Yes folks, it was that piece of steak. I had been chewing it all that time like a nasty piece of gum.
My first “French kiss” was with my junior boyfriend in my sophomore year. We had met in Spanish class. We went to a party a friend of his was having while we were newly dating. We danced a few slow songs (a first within a first) then went outside to the backyard to sit where it was a little quieter. It wasn’t pitch dark and there were other people around out there too. He slid his arm around my shoulders and pulled me against him, until our lips met. Another centimeter and we were kissing. He opened his mouth. Here it was, the moment we had been working up to for the whole four weeks of our relationship. We were going to French. Suddenly, he turned on the suction gluing his face to mine, drooling on my chin as we broke apart. Really? This is it? This is Frenching? I disengaged as quickly as I could, and I wiped my face with my sleeve. No way a kiss should be this sloppy. We didn’t last too much longer after that, but it was more because he was too clingy. I learned never to date anyone I went to school with again either because I kept running into him in the halls with that sad face.
Finally, I remember my first conversations with the man I’m married to now. I was scribbling erotica in the breakroom, rushing to meet an e-publisher’s deadline. He was eating something crunchy and distracting. “Hey,” he greeted me.
I left the sultry sweat of a stretch limo’s leather seats for the reality of a dingy and dirty breakroom with linoleum floors. “Hi.” I looked back at my notebook, trying to send him a message of, Go away, without being too rude.
I upped the go away vibe with a deep sigh and half eye roll. The guy was cute, in a bad boy sort of way (buzzed hair, tattoos, and a goatee), but I was on a deadline. “Sex in a limo.”
“Oh. Cool.” If he was shocked, he didn’t show it. I think he was trying to read upside down and sideways.
Over the next few weeks, we became friends and I started to like him more, but didn’t know how to admit that and wasn’t sure if he felt the same way too. So I did what I do best, I made him the main character in my next short story and asked him to read it for his opinion. I could see in his eyes he got the point.
“I had no idea”. Was his first reaction and comment.
“Is that a bad thing?” I asked cautiously because I was beginning to feel stupid and self-conscious all of a sudden.
“Not at all,” he smirked as he spoke, “I think you’re pretty hot too.”
At least I didn’t totally embarrass myself.
A few weeks later we were talking outside by our cars after the store had closed for the night. It was July and I was telling him that I would be going home to Miami on vacation for two weeks.
He looked at me and cocked his head a little to the side, a smile across his face, “Well let me give you something to think about and remember me by”. He moved closer to me, gently cupped my face in his hands, and moved his face towards mine. He kissed me ever so gently, longingly, without any demand. My heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest, and my legs went weak beneath me. He had to practically catch me when he let go. He’s still proud of himself eleven years later. This was definitely better than the first sloppy suck face kiss with my first boyfriend, and definitely tasted better than the gum steak when I was three.