by Lenny B. Jones
I didn’t know I loved her ‘til she walked away from me…
Our meeting spot was in the basement of our junior high school. Like clockwork, before lunch period, we’d find a way to leave class just a few moments early to meet at our secret place – a rather dim corner adjacent to the main lunchroom entrance. It was always still there. No real light, no variance in temperature; just a perfect spot to share stolen moments and hurried kisses. We had been meeting there for months; kissing, embracing, relishing in the thrill of possibly being caught. It was perfect mischief… until the statute of limitation on “being a secret” had expired.
On this particular day, Emme and I met in our usual spot. I was as excited as ever but on this day, she was melancholy. Maybe even pissed. I asked what was wrong, and got a sharp, “Nothing!” Selfishly, I leaned in for our lunch-time smooch in hopes that she’d forget all about what was troubling her. If this were social media, we’d insert the hashtag #EPICFAIL here. Emme pulled away, looked me straight in the eyes and said (verbatim), “If you can’t be with me in public, I can’t be with you in private,” then walked away into the main lunch hall.
I was dumbfounded. I watched her walk away and literally felt emotionally disjointed. But it was then that I knew. I knew that I loved her. It’s like the coin flip: when you’re undecided on a matter, you flip a coin. Seems easy enough. Though before it lands, the mind and body [typically] wish for one side over the other. I wished to be with her. In the light. So naturally, I did what any person desperate to win their love back would do – I charged right into that lunch hall, grabbed her arm, spun her around and planted the once closeted kiss onto her lips.
The entire population of our junior high school was in attendance. The viewing was apparently a sight to see; the silence in the room reminded me of a heavy snowfall…quiet with a tremendous presence. Had this been a well-thought out plan, I would have probably passed out. You see, I wasn’t entirely sure of my sexuality. And like many teenagers, I had succumb to a certain level of peer-pressure. In my school, at that time, being anything but smart/fly/straight was a no-no. Ergo, that kiss was my first and the first in my school’s history.
Nevertheless, I wasn’t about to let Emme go.
I bet you’re wondering what happened right after that kiss. Well, she had gone from pissed and cream-complected to purely happy and beet red. I, surprisingly, was calm. I turned to my friends and smiled as the blanketed, “We already knew,” escaped their stares. Before long, people started clapping and we felt like teenage celebrities. All seemed well until we saw the looks on the adults’ faces. They weren’t quite as impressed. They gave us about as warm a welcome as a toenail fungus. Like, YIKES! We’re thinking our public love was on fleek, and they’re thinking our public display should have gone down in the DM and not in the lunchroom.
The whole thing felt like a movie but I’m happy to say that that was my first time in love. Emme will always be part of my story. It’s with her that I first learned how to fight for the one I love – setting me on a path to a fruitful marriage today.