When the memory of one of the first – and least successful – dates in your life keeps resurfacing, loud and clear, deep in your mind’s stormy sea of memories, you finally realize that there are very few things better preserved than the sense of missing out.
I almost kissed a girl once. Writing about it now, I realize it doesn’t sound like much. But back then, more than thirty years ago, for one brief moment it was everything.
We were parked on the driveway leading to her parents’ house, in an old car I’d borrowed from a friend for the date. I was busy telling her about something very clever and life-altering that I’d read the week before, one of those things that you explain to a girl using lots of words and waving your hands around so she won’t notice how badly you want to kiss her. But this girl did notice, or perhaps she just couldn’t stand listening to my groundbreaking insights anymore. “You talk so much,” she said, interrupting me mid-sentence, “so much!” Then she gave an awkward, lovely smile. If that moment had happened in a short story I’d made up, rather than in this clumsy, partially-functional thing called life, it would probably have been the moment when we kissed.