"The First Kiss"
It took place on an airplane. It wasn’t all that unexpected. There was a boy of 13. There was a girl of 14. There was an understanding. There were feelings.
“Did you have fun in Chicago?” asked the boy, as if he hadn’t spent every day at her side.
“Yes,” she replied meekly. “Did you?”
The two looked at each other. His eyes shifted. Eyes. Nose. Lips. Her eyes darted. Left eye. Right eye. Lips. She licked her bottom lip subtly. He noticed. They directed their vision to the seats in front of them, respectively.
Their attention was on each other.
They sat in row 19, seats B and C. He in the middle, she in the aisle. They knew others were dispersed throughout the cabin. Even their parents were on the plane. Everyone knew it would happen.
His right leg trembled anxiously. She noticed. She sat stiff and upright in anticipation. He noticed.
He tapped his left index finger on the armrest he shared with a middle-aged man who he didn’t know.
“I’m so glad my parents let me come with your team on the trip,” he said.
“Me too,” she answered. “I like your mom as a coach.”
“Thanks,” he replied. “She almost didn’t let me come, but then she did.”
She laughed. He could’ve said anything. She would have been interested.
He let his head fall back onto the seat and turned toward her with a sigh. She followed suit.
They both felt it. Everyone felt it.
Neither knew what to say. What to do.
“My mom likes you,” he said.
“Really?” she asked. “My mom likes you, too.”
He smiled nervously. She glanced down at his lips again. He noticed. He didn’t do anything. They sat and stared at each other.
“You guys are weird,” said a voice from behind. It was one of her friends. She was sitting in row 20, seat B. “Why don’t you just kiss each other?”
There it was. It had been there all along. Elephant in the corner. They knew. Everyone knew. No one said it yet. But it was there. And it was obvious.
But now it was there. Mentioned. Acknowledged.
He laughed nervously. Insecurity. Uncertainty. Fear. All things he felt. Pressure now, too.
“Leave us alone,” she said to her friend. They both looked forward again, at row 18.
They pretended to be occupied in thought. They were. At the same time, they weren’t. He dropped his head back again, identical to last time. She, too.
“What are you thinking about?” he whispered.
“Nothing. What about you?”
They stared again. Left eye. Right eye. Lips. Left Eye. Lips. Right eye. Lips.
“Before, though. What were you thinking about before?” he asked.
“You mean the last thing I was thinking about?”
“I don’t know.”
At this point, his eyes were locked on her lips. Her eyes were locked on his lips. Simultaneously, they glanced up. They got caught. Deeply gazing. Eyes. Nowhere else. They were stuck.
His mind went blank.
He closed his eyes and leaned in 80% of the way.
Her mind went blank.
She closed her eyes and went 20%.
The lips met. The eyes closed tighter. The hearts pounded.
They separated. They opened their eyes.
He smiled. She smiled. Each took a deep breath.
He reached over and grabbed her hand. Held it tightly as the plane moved farther and farther away from Chicago.