free website hit counter Spiced Tea & Letters: The Kiss

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Kiss

Whisper by Monica Stewart

Another essay featured in Essence Magazine. There are times where they just hit the nail on the head with the essays. Enjoy!

By Shay Youngblood
(Essence, May 2001)

As kisses go, it was one of the longest and most illuminating. I sat on the front porch of Miss Stanley's house (where I rented a room) at dusk behind the hedge of thick shrubbery outside her bedroom window, kissing a boy I'd just met.

This is how it started. It was the first week of sophomore year, the first day of my work-study job in the college library. He was a good-looking premed student, with honey-colored eyes and a sweet smile. I'd helped him find a book. He offered to walk me home. I couldn't invite him into my room, so we sat on the front porch. We talked for a long time, whispering so our voices wouldn't carry, about where we were born and what our majors were, our favorite books, music and what foods we liked to eat. He said something that made me laugh from deep down inside, and because I was shy about the small gap in the middle of my smile, I brought my hand up to my mouth. He reached for the hand covering my mouth and stroked it, brought it up to his face and closed his eyes. He tasted the inside of my wrist as if he were hungry. I was barely breathing. He, however, took a deep breath and rubbed his face into my hand as if it were a velvet glove. This hand dance made me shiver, though it was a warm, early fall evening in the South. It was the first time so much attention had been paid to my hand. He massaged my palms, stroked each finger firmly between his thumb and forefinger. He looked into my eyes not speaking, stroking my hands as if to soothe me. As my hands relaxed, so went my arms, my shoulders--my whole body became a puddle, a lake, a river.

Night was falling around us. With his fingers he studied my face slowly, gingerly, thoroughly, as if he were having a final exam in anatomy. He wrapped his arms around me and pushed his face into my neck, planting deep kisses as if roses would grow. I was a little afraid. What if Miss Stanley looks out her window? What if he thinks I'm fast? What if ... I pushed away every doubt or fear as quickly as it came. I let myself go, never imagining how far he would take me. He knew I was ready. He leaned in toward me and pressed his dense, buttery lips to my yielding mouth. The instant we touched there was a powerful current that connected us. My mouth was moist and receptive. At first we were waltzing--one, two, three, one, two, three--but then our passion transformed into a fiery flamenco. We kissed nonstop for an hour and 15 minutes.

This sweet, delicious pleasure was what I've come to know as a soul kiss. The entire 75 minutes were not totally focused on the sensory experience. By the time the streetlights came on, my mind began to drift. I started to think about how coming to Atlanta was a new beginning for me. I had grown up in a public-housing project and was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from high school. It had taken all my family's meager resources, a government-sponsored grant, an academic scholarship and a work-study job in the school's library to make it possible for me to attend college. I wanted to be a television journalist or an entertainment lawyer. All the desire I felt for a full, rich and happy future I put into that kiss. All my hopes for a better life had me married to this unsuspecting premed student who would be a doctor in private practice within ten years. I would be the mother of his children, and we'd live in a house in the suburbs and spend vacations in the Caribbean. I kissed him as if all my happiness were contained in that moment in the porch swing. I kissed him as if all I had was this single moment of joy. If Miss Stanley hadn't come to the front door and cleared her throat, we might still be kissing. My lips raw, my body tingling, I could still feel his hands on my face hours later as I drifted to sleep, into dreams in which I was invincible.

I did not see much of my young man in the days following our big kiss. He was absorbed with his studies, and I became interested in pursuing more creative passions. By the end of the semester I had discovered the power of poetry, other kinds of kisses, new passions that would come to consume me and make me feel as fearless as I did when I chose the longest kiss.

Author and playwright Shay Youngblood's most recent novel is Black Girl in Paris. She lives in New York.


At 11:14 AM, Blogger jamila said...

hey there. yes, i am a member of in Florida. I'll be at the conf. thanks for the shot out on my blog. your joint is quite enlightening!


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