By Dr. Judy 2003
Standing on the brink of a cliff, high above a restless sea the lovers joined hands. Silhouetted against the blazing orange of a setting sun their youthful profiles were barely a blush apart. Her face tilted upward, lips trembling. He leaned down, poised and ready at their next heartbeat to gently link them in the painful and rapturous completion of love’s first kiss. Her eyes closed. She caught her breath in blissful anticipation.
Nothing happened. She opened her eyes.
The basement was dark and on the damp side. In preparation for the party they had stuffed some LP album covers in the windows, probably to discourage the host’s younger brother from peeking in on the festivities. In one corner of the room a stereo was droning out “The Stroll.” Nearby several boys stood around a card table munching chips and stuffing peanuts down the necks of big glass bottles of Pepsi Cola. They ignored two girls dancing the stroll who were trying to look cool and not watch their feet. The rest of the partygoers were seated in chairs arranged around the concrete walls. Most of these boys and girls eyed each other nervously as they tried to think of something to say to the opposite sex.
She just stared at scratched patches of concrete that showed through the faded brown paint on floor. Roller-skating inside during the winter months had previously been the only use of the dank and cluttered space. It now strained to look festive, helped tremendously by the fact that a single lamp lighted the whole place. Above in the rafters the party host had strung old-fashioned Christmas tree lights, but several of the bulbs had mysteriously disappeared. Now the three or four left did little to shed much light into the gloom.
Yes, it was dark. It was dark by design. Someone had actually thrown a green scarf over the lone lamp to further add to the ambiance. Given the age of the crowd and what was planned for the evening, it was an appropriate color. On the agenda for the evening was a game called spin the bottle. It would bring about the loss of innocence of numerous budding Romeos and Juliets who were virgins in the kissing department.
She scanned the possible candidates who might perform this rite of passage with her. There were only four boys in the room who were taller than she was. She prayed fervently that one of them would do the honors. There was Gary, a gangly fellow, all knees and elbows whose most dominant feature was slightly crossed eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses. Please God, not Gary. There was Don, Don with the big ears and prominent Adam’s apple, who had watched her with piercing blue eyes in Miss Rasmussen’s 7th grade English class. And there was Mike, black-haired, blue eyed Mike, who made it his business to look as much like Elvis as possible by carrying around a string-less guitar and pulling a twist of his shiny black hair down on his forehead. If only it would be Ronny, Ronny of the huge gray eyes with long curly lashes and broad shoulders who was a dead-ringer for Ricky Nelson.
They circled the chairs and one of the boys checked on the adult chaperones upstairs having coffee. The coast was clear. The first brave soul in possession of the “magic, magnetic kissing compass” was ready. She watched as several of the group rubbed their sweating palms against their knocking knees. Who would be the first sacrifice on the pop bottle alter of love?
The bottle whirled once and pointed directly at her. She was Debra Pagant poised on the edge of the boiling volcano. The bottle spun again. Who would it be?
Not Ron, or Mike, or Don. Alas, it was Gary. His lips were cool and soft.
So she closed her eyes and was back again on the edge of the sea in the blaze of the setting sun with love’s first kiss was on her lips.
Dear Reader- Those were indeed the good old days.