Monday, August 6, 2007

I was Fifteen going on Sixteen...

Note: Some of the names have been changed to protect the privacy of those mentioned.

The month was February. I was two months shy of my sixteenth birthday and terrified that I would be "Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed". I was as skinny as a rail with no figure. I had metal braces with elastic bands that attached from top to bottom, so that when I opened my mouth, it looked like strands of saliva were always hanging down. Lovely. I was also growing out my super short hair cut from the previous year. Now it almost reached the bottom of my earlobes.

That is how I looked when I met Derek and Jon. They were both Juniors and I was a Freshman. Jon was tall, blond, Canadian and shy. Derek was short, blond, crass and obnoxious. They were best friends. We all met at the international school we were attending whilst living in England. For reasons I will never know, Jon took a liking to me. Derek then made it his business to become my friend and learn all about me with the intention of pulling Jon in, since Jon was too shy to befriend me himself.

The problem was, Jon talked to Derek about me all the time and eventually Derek began to like me too. Oh the drama of teenage love triangles! Now I, being an immature 15 year old who's never been kissed, was terrified of shy, handsome, Jon. Those were my reasons for being terrified of him... shy, tall and handsome. And YES, I was the stupidest girl in the world!

Derek on the other hand was not at all shy. He always found an excuse to find me and talk to me. He also wasn't as cute as Jon. For some reason though, his candidness and average looks put me at ease and I suppose that's why I began to like him. That and the fact that he started sending me love letters between classes. My friends and I would laugh in shock in the girls locker room at the rude things he would say in his letters. Thankfully though, I can't remember what those things were, nor would I even want to try recalling them.

Eventually, to Jon's terrible dismay, Derek and I began dating. If you could call it that. We just liked knowing that we were "together". This all took place just before our school's winter break. Derek and I were going on the same school ski trip to the Austrian Alps. I was very excited. I had never been away from my parents before, let alone going to Europe and my new boyfriend was going too.

We took a plane from Heathrow Airport and flew to Munich. Then we all boarded a bus and drove another three hours into Austria. I was a nervous wreck on that bus ride. Up until this point, Derek never made a move on me. I don't even think we held hands. I wasn't even sure if he wanted to sit next to me. He was just so goofy all the time, cracking jokes and shooting his loud mouth off and talking to everyone but me.

But we did sit together. In the back. Not the way way back, that was for the maker-outters and I was not that kind of girl. That kind of stuff scared me because although I was slowly becoming a woman, I was still very much a girl inside. I could see that Derek was also very much a boy, so even though he didn't always talk to me, I knew I wouldn't get man-handled. So I felt safe.

By the time our bus headed off towards Austria it was growing late into the night. Our merry band of high schoolers and chaperons were fading in their personalities and everyone was growing sleepy. Our bus wound it's way past dark snowy meadows, and slowly headed into the Alps. As I looked out the window watching the snow fall, I could see Derek's reflection staring at me. I was too nervous to turn my head. So he kindly put his arm around me. I leaned in to rest my head on his shoulder and could smell the scent of Obsession for Men on his ski sweater. For the rest of my life, whenever I catch that sent, I am reminded of his wispy blond hair and 16 year old face.

All was quiet then and no one was watching. He tilted my chin up to his face with his hand and warmly kissed me. It was the kiss of someone who had done it before. But I didn't mind. And then he kissed me again. And just as I was feeling myself begin to melt and relish in the sweetness of the moment, I felt like someone was watching us. Before I had a chance to open my eyes, the kid in the seat in front of us was leaning over the back of his seat and proclaimed "Hey look you guys, they're kissing! Eeeoooouuu!". I broke away from Derek at that point and tried to bury my face into his chest. Everyone turned to look at us and I was mortified and terribly red in the face. I wanted to punch Charlie all the way back to Brussels where he was from. Derek told him to shut up and that the show was over. Which I thought was very protective of him. But for the rest of the ride people kept looking at us, to see if it might happen again.

We snuggled down under a small blanket that he pulled out and even though I tried to fall asleep, it was impossible. I was too excited inside. I had been kissed! Finally. I didn't see him much the rest of the week. We were in different ski groups because he was a better skiier than I was.
A few weeks later, we broke up. The idiot had conquered me and he developed a crush on some other girl. I wasn't too hurt, though. It was just a puppy-love relationship. But still, Derek was my first kiss, and you never forget your first.

1 comment:

Adventurer w/o Borders said...

Hey, Colleen,

I must confess that, when I look back at my youth, I was a bit shallow and stupid at fifteen.

I'm not so vain as to imagine any of the girls not being able to recover from the heartaches that I caused them but it's nice to actually hear/read a woman say that she wasn't too hurt when someone did that to her.


p.s., If any of you girls, whom I've hurt during that period of my life, is reading this, I truly am sorry for being such an idiot to toy with your hearts in that way.