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  • Passion is never fact, and never in a kiss,
    for it is pure unact, all other than the this.
    It is love’s negative, Love’s furious potency,
    Distinct from which we live, in the affirmed to be.
    And as Love’s passive form is not this form I see
    But all the loves that swarm in the unwilled to be,
    So in this actual kiss, unfaithful I am true:
    I realize in this all passion, act and you.

    J. V. Cunningham

    Your first kiss.

    Who kissed you? Where were you? What did you feel? Were you thrilled, disgusted, fascinated?

    What happened next?

    Were you at summer camp, or were you in a dark movie theater?

    Were you in the back of a car at night, and were the windows all steamed up? Were you parked out on a mountain road, overlooking the ocean? Were you at a party? How old were you?

    Were you on top of a skyscraper looking out over a whole sparkling city? Were you in your house, and were your parents out for the evening?

    Were you on an airplane, on a bus, on a ship? Were you dancing, wrestling, holding hands? Were you in a crowd, or alone together?

    What smells do you remember? Cologne, perfume, fresh roasted popcorn, sweat, pine woods, seaweed, mouthwash, honeysuckle, sagebrush, coffee, apple pie, hot dogs, incense, smoke?

    What were you wearing?

    After that kiss, did you feel you had crossed some kind of invisible boundary?

    Did you feel scared? Did you want more? Was there music? Were you watching TV? Did you feel happy, sad, depressed, disappointed? Did you tell anyone, and if so, what did you say?

    Is your memory of that first kiss still vivid for you? How much can you remember?

    Here's mine:

    When I was in the fifth grade, there was a boy named Richard who took care of the barn and the horses at school.

    He was in eighth grade, a tall lanky cowboy kind of guy with freckles, curly blond sunburned hair and glasses.

    We loved to chase mice in the hay barn, and one afternoon, when we had been on a mouse hunt, we were laughing, hot and sweaty and covered with dust and straw.

    We were standing on some bales of hay, holding our pitchforks, and all of a sudden he turned to me and…..kissed me!

    I felt his wet mouth on mine and was too surprised to fully register on what had happened, although we all knew all about kisses and where they might lead, thanks to early sex education.

    I was petrified, and ran screaming from the barn as though I had had an alien encounter.

    The next day, we went back to hunting mice as though nothing had ever happened, but we both knew otherwise.

    It was our secret.

    We never kissed again.

    (Photograph by Alex in the virtual 3-D world of Second Life0
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