The End of Innocence
“Two Minutes in the Closet” was a phrase that filled me with ultimate terror as a young boy. This is the true story of The Boy vs. The Terror…of a first kiss.
My group of close friends and acquaintances and I had just spent the summer enjoying our freedom, freedom from the shackles of Elementary School. I recall it as a particularly carefree and spirited summer. Swimming and playing tennis every day at the club. Eating hot dogs, hamburgers and fries prepared especially for us at our whim by the attentive Club Staff. And, of course, there was also the endless supply of sizzling Cherry Cokes.
Summer came and went too quickly as it always did and I found myself once again shopping with my mom for new clothes and school supplies. But this year was different. I was entering an entirely new realm. Last year I was a confident, well-adjusted 5th grader. I ruled my world. But those days were over. What awaited me through this new set of doors as a 6th grader was completely foreign. I had no idea what to expect and wasn’t sure I wanted to find out. The transition to Junior High School (aka Middle School) is not the most comfortable experience of a young person’s life. At least not mine. All of a sudden I went from being a giant to a mere dwarf among giants. I had a class schedule to navigate, a locker combination to memorize and possibly hair in places that it didn’t used to be. But there was one thing about 6th grade that was more mysterious and honestly frightening than anything else. GIRLS!
I had a huge crush on the tallest and prettiest girl in the entire 6th grade. And she actually liked me too, I think. We would meet each other at our lockers between classes and talk (about what I have no idea). We would eat lunch together sometimes and I’m fairly certain we held hands once. This went on for the entire Fall Semester. It was magical to me. But after Christmas break, it was never the same. I think she found a new boyfriend. So I was free! And I think some of the girl’s in my class realized it. Because it wasn’t long before I was getting lots of attention. I liked it. And as a result I was invited to a Friday night get-together at this one girl’s house. She was one of the girls that I spent last summer with, tanning and swimming at the Club. I wasn’t able to join the group that night for some reason and that was very disappointing. But I hoped to make it to the next party, if there was one.
The following week at school, all the buzz in the hallways was about the party. Everyone that went had a palpable new energy about them. I was curious what was so great about a simple get-together at a girl’s house and it didn’t take long before my best friend was spilling the beans. It had been a “Make-out” party.
“A what?” I asked.
My friend eagerly explained.
“We played this game called “Two Minutes in the Closet”, where you go into a dark closet with a random girl and do whatever you want for two minutes”.
I was confused.
“Like what?”, I asked.
“Well Amy and I kissed and she let me touch her boobs”.
Needless to say, I’m fairly certain I passed out at this point in the conversation. Girls were kissed! Boobs were touched! How was I supposed to process that information? I had just spent the past 3 months with a “girlfriend” and the most I had done was hold her hand…once! My best friend spent 120 seconds in a closet with a stranger and…well…did what he did. My light headedness lasted for days.
Then something happened that rocked my world. There was going to be another party and I was once again invited. All the boys and girls that had attended the make-out party the previous weekend were visibly excited and any new kids who wanted to be included were selectively invited (or not). And I…I was scared. I had never kissed a girl, let alone touched any girl parts. I was totally in a panic. But why not join the “fun”? All the other kids were having a great time mashing their faces together. Why did the thought of it make my stomach hurt? What was wrong with me?
As the Spring Semester took its course, there were parties after parties after parties and there were lots of questions about why I never came. There was considerable peer pressure too. But I just tried to ignore it all. I wasn’t going to do something that made me so uncomfortable. Basically, I was deathly afraid.
Then it was almost summer and 6th grade would be a distant memory. There would once again be carefree, endless days to pass by the pool with friends. Or would there? Would this summer be different? I was once again afraid. Most, if not all, of my close friends had just spent the past 4 months exploring each other’s bodies. At least that’s what I imagined. And I hid among the shadows the entire time. I didn’t feel good about myself. Why couldn’t I be like the others? How am I going to endure an entire summer with the disgrace of being such a prude?
An end of the school year party was announced and it seemed like the entire 6th grade was invited. It was at a girl’s house that wasn’t part of the make-out group and so it sounded safe. I attended. I was 12 years old.
There were at least 50 kids at the party. There was punch and cookies and chips and popcorn and there was even a piñata. This was my kind of party. We took turns bashing the piñata until its belly exploded sending candy and gum all over the floor. We all gorged on the sweets and filled our pockets with even more. I was having fun. Then, there was an announcement. It was time to play “Spin the Bottle”. Most of the boys and girls were excited, but all I could think was “Uh Oh!” I had heard about this game and it involved kissing and stuff like that. I started scanning the room for an exit but it was blocked by too many eager kids. I was trapped!
Everyone sat in a big circle facing each other and a bottle was placed in the center. And then the party hostess spun it. The bottle rattled and clanged as if was about to spray glass everywhere, but then it came gently to a stop with its end pointing at someone in the circle. Then it would be spun again and then stop pointing at a second kid in the circle. And then the boy and the girl would walk to the center of the circle and kiss in front of everyone. I’m pretty sure I was in a coma at this point. The spinning and kissing continued for what felt like an eternity. When does the game end? Can we end it now? Can I be excused to go to the bathroom? Does anyone have a hand grenade?
Then it happened. The bottle stopped spinning and it was pointing at me! How could I get out of this? Maybe if I threw up then I would be excused from participating in this horrifying event. And I actually felt like throwing up but no such luck. I would not be saved. So I stood up and walked to the center of the circle. It felt like a thousand eyes were upon me. The girl facing me, my partner, without hesitation, stuck her face into mine and we started kissing. And what happened next will never unhappen. It is forever seared into my mind and soul.
It was a very wet kiss and there was this gooey thing inside the girl’s mouth. Immediately what came to my racing, panicked mind was “piñata”. And I pushed the girl’s mouth away from mine and exclaimed in front of those 1,000 eyes and ears…
“Gross! You have gum in your mouth!”
And the girl’s reply might as well have been a bullet in my gut.
“That’s not gum stupid, it’s my tongue!”
I don’t remember anything after that. The next hour or so is a complete blur. In a matter of seconds I had gone from potential glory to ultimate gloom. This was not something a young man ever lives down. I would be scarred for life and ridiculed forever…maybe longer. I wanted to be invisible.
I stewed and steamed as the other kids continued having their fun. And I kept trying to figure out how to make it all go away. And then it occurred to me that maybe there was one way out. It was bold and daring but it just might work.
I found the girl with the tongue I had just mistaken as gum and I apologized for embarrassing her. And then I asked her if she would join me in the closet for two minutes. She accepted.
I’ve enjoyed kissing girls ever since.
Copyright Lewis Henderson aka ghfool, 11.17.14.
This material is the property of the author and any use of the material without the express written authorization of the author is prohibited.