Day 10: First love and first kiss <3

It’s only when I sat down to type this that I realized something…I don’t remember my first kiss. Maybe it’s lack of coffee, but more likely, it’s lack of it being any form of “memorable.” The funny thing? When I was a kid, having my first kiss was a huge deal to me. In middle school, I would jump from boyfriend to boyfriend, hoping to find that “special” guy to share my first real lip-lock. Time and again, my very short pre-teen relationships came and went, without anything to write home about. There was someone I know I wanted my first kiss to be with, but in true Megan fashion, I was terrified to go for it.

In the summer of 1998, I was a camp counselor at a local Y.  I rode the bus with the campers every morning; it was early in the morning, and it was loud, but it was extra cash (which is everything to a seventeen year old). One morning, like every morning, the bus rode through the hills of the camp, dropping kids off at their daily destinations. Nothing new, nothing remarkable.  Until I looked out at the window at our “explorer camp” drop off. A new guy; looking adorable and overwhelmed in a sea of overexcited third and fourth graders, ready to start their day of swimming, archery and arts and crafts. 

I couldn’t tell you when my first kiss was. I probably couldn’t tell you the names of my first (or second, or third) boyfriend, but in HD clarity, I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on Kenny Courtney. 

It wasn’t instant togetherness. We were both shy, I was insecure; but after two months of getting to know one another, he finally asked me out. I don’t think I’d ever been so excited! Sadly, neither of us were super experienced in the romance department; so we went to see a vampire movie (not the sexy kind like Twilight, we saw Blade, which is kind of hilarious), and went to the diner. I was too nervous to order food, so I ordered tea. A seventeen year old who didn’t drink tea unless it had four sugars in it, ordered tea because she didn’t know what else to order…

And yet, he asked me to be his girlfriend the next week anyway. One night, a few weeks later, he drove me home from work. We ended up sitting in his car (in my driveway) for a long while; talking about everything and nothing. We talked about friends, school, what we wanted to do with our lives. It was the first of many of those conversations over the course of the next twenty years; the first night of the rest of our lives together. The beginning of the closest friendship I’d ever have. Finally, we realized the night was escaping us, and we needed to wind down. We said our goodbyes, and as I began to leave the car, it happened…he leaned in, and, in unusual fashion for me, I didn’t hesitate to meet him halfway; our first real, long, lingering kiss.  

It wasn’t the first kiss of my life, but it was the first kiss that mattered. It was the kiss that led to the life I have today, twenty one years later; through senior prom, college graduation, a wedding, houses and kids. Amazing how that happens, isn’t it? He quickly and easily became my first love, but where many first love stories end with age and maturity, we hung on. We stuck together through some ugly days, days where we probably didn’t like each other very much, days one or the other of us weren’t close to being our best selves. That’s love, though, isn’t it? Knowing that even when things get murky, whether within the relationship or whether life starts dealing blows, that you have that person who will stand by you, anyway? To me, real love isn’t always easy; it’s messy, and beautiful, and hard, and amazing. It’s laughing and loving through some years, and others where you have to wade through some things. That’s what we had…it wasn’t always perfect, but it was real. And then came the one thing we couldn’t beat together: brain cancer.  

I was so lucky to have gotten that kiss; the first love kiss that launched a life. Of course, it didn’t turn out (at all) the way I would have hoped; no one envisions they’ll fall in love, build a life, and have it destroyed before they turn thirty six. Yet, even given all that happened, I can’t imagine having spent that time with anyone other than him. 

I don’t know if that will ever happen again for me; I’m young enough to be wistful, and old enough to be pragmatic. Yet seeing as I never saw it coming the first time, I like to hope that life has happy surprises ahead.