Xavier Walton's First Kiss, Page 1Phil Wohl
Xavier Walton’s First Kiss
Copyright 2005 Phil Wohl
CONTENTS Hello Early
Third Grade Marriage Girls Are Weird Summer Leavin’ I Summer Leavin’ II Bunk 12 Rules!
Sharin’ Shari Punch in the Dark Holding Hands Eyes Closed Goodbye
Kids don’t have it easy.It’s hard enough having parents and teachers looking over your shoulder every day, but life
becomes even more difficult when your age jumps up into double-digits.
If you told me a year ago that I would kiss a girl when I was 12, then I would have either laughed at you or started to sweat. Girls have always been a puzzle of which I have failed to connect the pieces. They are so complicated and emotional that the average dude has absolutely no chance to get within shouting range.
Going to away to camp seemed to make things a bit easier for me. The pressure of school and home life seemed to calm down and socializing seemed to become a way of life.
My name is Xavier Walton and this is the story of my first kiss.
I don’t remember much about being born but I hear it’s quite a traumatic experience. We learn a lot about ourselves during the first few years, although I’m not sure how screaming and crying enters into that equation.
The babies that I have observed scream and cry all of the time, between being cute and trying to find any sense of
balance. Life has come a long way from wanting a fresh diaper or warm bottle, to toasting my own Pop Tarts and managing bathroom trips.
I remember the first time I got on a bicycle and pedaled my way to freedom. It took my older sister months to wean herself off training wheels but I wanted to make my mark on the world. Lucky for me, my vision didn’t include wobbling and falling on my head; that definitely wasn’t the impression I was trying to make on the kids in the neighborhood.
My dad was a bit skittish when he put me on top of the bike. I had watched my sister, Gail, fall at least a dozen times and the last fall was really sticking in my mind. She was heading down the driveway and I was near the garage throwing a pink rubber ball to myself.
Gail looked back at me like she knew something was going to happen. My dad told her that she is “about as smooth as dried concrete.” I have never even seen wet concrete—that stuff is probably all gooey and grainy and the dust clogs your nose and make your mouth feel like you ate chalk.
I once knew a little kid in pre-school that ate chalk one day. I’m not really sure why we had chalk at the day care center anyway, because the adults were just looking after us, not teaching anything. The teacher asked the four year-old, “Why did you eat the chalk?” The kid replied, “I like yellow.” Couldn’t argue with that.
Getting back to my sister and her huge daredevil bike accident… Gail seemed to be suspended in mid-air like wires were attached to her sweatshirt from the white, puffy clouds. Clouds weren’t made to be sturdy and Gail seemed to drop like she had fallen into a pool. Even though she seemed to be falling in slow motion, I was way too far away and small to stop her from crashing to the ground.
I almost started laughing at the awkwardness of the fall, but I sprinted over to Gail once that I saw she was in pain. Two hours later she came home with a cast on her left arm and a doctor-ordered break from letting the bike ride her.
I still remember my first day of school like it was yesterday. Actually, it was only about six years ago. The 23 kids in Mrs. O’Donnell’s class were much more concerned with charging out to the playground than wondering about what girl liked what boy.
The whole thing was pretty overwhelming at first but we got the hang of the routine after a while. School seemed to be a lot more organized than things were at home. My mom seemed to be juggling so many different tasks that she probably should have painted her face white and wore a red nose for the amusement.
Every kid had an issue that he or she had to deal with during the day. Melvin Garrett had trouble unbuttoning his pants and thus created a danger every time he went to the bathroom. Once he realized that he could use his zipper to go number one, much of the drama and cleanup of the event was calmed. Now that I think about it his aim was pretty shoddy and he had to be told repeatedly to pick the sit up and then put it back down after each use.
Julia Sanderson was the Princess of Glue back in the first grade. She found more things to glue herself than Jelly Belly has jellybean flavors. We were outside participating in a fire drill one spring day and were waiting for the bell to signal us we could come back inside.
Mrs. O’Donnell was an older lady that knew how to control her class. We were stacked together in two straight lines and every kid had a pair; but, with 23 kids in the class and no one absent, the even-numbered structure gave our teacher cause for pause.
We looked around and saw Julia leaning against the side of the building. It was obvious by the smile on her face that she didn’t have any attachment issues. Her skin must have been as sticky as a flytrap by the time she moved on to second grade.
Brad Charlton picked his nose about as often as the rest of us added numbers together. The simple math for Brad was that he had entirely too much mucus collecting in his nostrils and it was his sole duty to excavate the green gook. Mrs. O’Donnell even gave him his own box of Kleenex after repeated attempts
to keep his fingers away from the middle of his face failed miserably.
The last character in my first grade class was Kimberly Carter. While most kids in our class would park themselves at the lunch table and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with milk, Kim often dined on her hair. She must have used strawberry-scented shampoo or even dipped her hair on a vat of chocolate, because her hair apparently tasted much better than it looked. Maybe she confused her locks for a steaming bowl of spaghetti -- or maybe, just maybe, she was a few trading cards short of a full set – if you know what I mean.
When I first went to Twin Lakes Elementary School, it was very common for boys and girls to get together and play after school. I had this one friend named Robin Diamond that lived around the corner from me and was in Mrs. Handley’s class.
At six years old, we didn’t have boy/girl thoughts in our heads. I think we were just happy to be able to ride out bikes around the corner by ourselves and play together. Our time together consisted of playing on the swing and slide in her backyard and talking about nothing more than TV shows, candy,
and cookies.Not once did I ever think about kissing Robin
Diamond, although she was quite sparkly and had shiny hair.
By the beginning of second grade the division between boys and girls was starting to form. I’m not sure if the parents were nervous about their own issues, but Robin was rarely in her backyard waiting for me after the summer of first grade.
After I rode by her house a few times with no luck, I saw Robin looking at me from her window. She waived at me to come so she could talk to me, so I dropped my book on the grass near the sidewalk and ran toward the window. I walked into the dirt of the planting bed and she said, “My mother wants me to play with girls. I replied, “Why?” She countered, “I’m not sure but I can’t play with you anymore.”
With that her mother called her from the other room and she closed the window and disappeared from sight. I tried to approach her on the playground a few times after that but her girlfriends seemed to create a barrier so I couldn’t get near her. One girl, Sally Hickman, even said to me once, “No boys allowed, Xavier.”
“No boys allowed in what?” I thought. No boys al
lowed in that patch of grass? No boys allowed in your toxic air? No boys allowed in your stupid girls club? What did I do to deserve such treatment? What was all of the commotion about, anyway? Why are boys and girls so different? I am still not so sure of the answers to these questions. I’ll get back to you if I ever get a good answer.
Third Grade Marriage
Even though there are a few divorced couples in our town, the majority of kids have two married parents in the house. This gives most kids an idea of what it for male and females to be together.
My parents get along pretty well, so my thoughts about going out with girls are pretty good. Third grade seemed to be a relationship starting point for a few of my classmates. I was so far from really growing up that I was pretty embarrassed by many of the things that I saw that year.
My best friend at school was Gary Brown. Gary and I had been in the same class for all three years at Twin Lakes Elementary and we were best friends. All of the girls loved Gary and his cool shiny hair and suave personality. Girls used to talk to me just to get a shot at Gary. It was my first experience with being used and I stopped being Gary’s fan mail slot real quick.
Gary could have had his pick of all of the girls in Ms. Washington’s class. In fact, he could have asked any girl out in the third grade and she would have said, “Yes” after she was revived.
I think that Gary even had Ms. Washington under his perfect boy spell. Jealousy was the furthest thing from my mind; I just didn’t understand what all the commotion was about. Maybe I didn’t see it because I’m a guy, but Gary was just another dude with excellent penmanship to me.
I was in no hurry to grow up and neither were most of my friends. We were content with playing sports and riding our bikes after school. Girls were the furthest things from our
minds and had no real place in our lives.That was until Gary decided to mess with all of our heads and get married.
It’s amazing what a wedding will do to your head when you’re nine years old. When your best friend decides to get hitched and he’s not old enough to go to even work in McDonald’s, problems arise. Where will the wedding be held? Who will be catering the affair? Where will the company go on the honeymoon? Chucky Cheese’s?
Like any best friend, Gary asked me to be his best man. The stupid girls spent a week making the ring out of gold pipe cleaners and paper in art class. They were so tuned into the event, like they had some sort of wedding radar or something. A group of about six girls scouted out locations around the school to have the wedding. Once they picked the location, the date and time were quickly set. The wedding of Jessica Winters and Gary Brown would take place on Friday at 12:30 p.m.
I was dreading all week having to stand up in front of everyone as Gary’s Best Man. First of all, I wasn’t a man. Secondly, the only thing I was “best” at was eating Devil Dogs – and even then, this kid named Dominique Vaspucci was a Devil
Dog eating machine. His mother would pack at least four of the chocolate cake with creamy filling delicacies in his lunch box every day. My mom went a bit conservative with one “dog” and a bag of Fritos.
I thought for a minute of changing my title to “Average Kid” but (a) it would have taken away from my friend’s day; and (b) nobody would have really cared. It was incredible how organized these girls were. Like ants carrying out a perfectly choreographed task, the females were in all of their glory.
Friday morning came and I was a bit slow to get out of bed. Although it was spring and love was in the air, I felt like staying home all day under the covers. I hadn’t missed a day of school all year, but I would be more than willing to end my pursuit of perfect attendance in favor of avoiding the wedding.
My mom would have let me stay home, but she had an appointment she couldn’t miss. She told me she would cancel her plan if I were “really sick.” Wasting that kind of manipulation to avoid the wedding seemed stupid. All I had to do is stand next to Gary for a few minutes and then my life would return back to normal again.
Gary seemed to love all of the attention he was receiving at school that Friday. All of the guys were unusually quiet, except Marvin Howard. The math whiz was so excited that he was spitting out answers faster than a mega-computer. It got so bad that Ms. Washington had to send him out of the room to calm down. Marvin’s circuits must have been overloaded.
It was 11:15 a.m., and I was staring at the big white clock on the wall, hoping that time would stand as still as a camper standing in front of a huge grizzly bear. I felt like running as far as my legs would take me away from this mind-melting wedding experience.
In third grade, we ate lunch first and then had recess. Even if we had eaten lunch after recess, my lunch would surely not rest comfortably. I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich unusually slowly and nursed the last drops of my pint of milk. Half a bag of Fritos and two bites of a Devil Dog later, and my class were being ushered by the aides to the playground.
Usually, recess was my favorite time of day. What boy doesn’t like to run around and be free? O.K., Marvin Howard – the kid with two first names. He had a real fear of bees and
kid often is seen running like a girl with a bad haircut. I think he was running from his own shadow, not a phantom swarm of bees.
The girls were incredibly organized, but most of the boys were embarrassed and pretended to not be interested in the wedding. I would have run to the edge of the playground and hid behind the largest tree I could find if I wasn’t Gary’s Best man.
Jessica had worn a nice dress for the occasion and all the great Gary had to do was show up in his tuxedo t-shirt and blue jeans. As if life wasn’t embarrassing enough, one of the girls said that I had to hold hands with Mandy Morrison. She looked me over and said, “No thank you.” I just stood their unable to speak; like my tongue had been tied in knots and I had no vocal chords.
Since none of the boys had experience in marrying people, Hope Charles stepped in and become an instant member of the clergy. She had the entire ceremony printed out on a piece of paper and was completely in charge of the nuptials.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to witness the marriage of Jessica Alexandra Winters and Gary Aaron Brown” Hope confidently stated as she started the ceremony. You could tell that she scanned the Internet and found an official sounding ceremony.
Hope continued, “Do you, Jessica Alexandra Winters take Gary Aaron Brown as your lawfully wedded husband?” Hope looked at me and I removed the ring from my pocket and handed it to Gary. Gary then placed the gold band on Jessica’s left ring finger and she looked at Gary and proudly said, “I do.”
Hope turned to Gary and asked “Do you, Gary Aaron Brown take Jessica Alexandra Winters as your lawfully wedded husband?” Mandy handed the silver band to Jessica and she placed it on Gary’s left ring finger. Gary looked at Jessica and confidently replied, “I do.”
A few of the girls were giggling as Hope concluded the service. “By the powers vested in me by Principal Kelly of the Twin Lakes Elementary School, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” I was starting to feel a sense of relief that the
nightmare was almost over until Hope turned to Gary and said, “You may kiss the bride.”
The playground grew still as the word “kiss” must have echoed off of every rock and tree. The girls picked a spot that was exactly in the middle of the playground. They must have had “Math” Marvin figure out the exact coordinates of the playground’s center. I thought that a nicer, more secluded spot under the trees would have been a better choice.
Gary smiled for a second and then moved in for the kill. He seemed to be as cool as he always was playing the lead in the play. Gary must have logged hours of mirror time practicing his pucker, because he looked like a movie star making his big move.
The kiss lasted a split second but it seemed like an eternity from where I stood. They both closed their eyes, which left me confused of how they managed to
connect without seeing each other. Maybe lips had a magnet or a homing device that helped them connect between other lips.
Had Gary kissed other girls before he kissed Jessica? By the looks of it, he really knew what he was doing. Yuck! Once
Jessica and Gary moved away from each other, every guy on the playground ran and screamed like someone had sprinted onto the playground flashing a gun. In contrast, the girls were all saying “Ahhh” and imagining themselves marrying and kissing Gary.
Gary and Jessica held hands for a few days and then stopped once they realized that there was a reason why third graders don’t get married. I was really happy that order had been restored and we kid all be kids again… for now.
Girls Are Weird
The next two years were relatively quiet, primarily because Gary decided not to remarry. I was as smooth with girls as nails being scraped along a chalkboard. As each year passed I was more and more awkward and confused by girls. Girls are weird – for sure.
Gary seemed to be involved in every incredibly embarrassing moment I had in grade school. That was probably
the reason we stopped being best friends once we left for middle school. He started off being a good friend that looked after me, and finished as a competitive guy that was worried about his image.
Our class rolled into Mr. Martin’s art class one afternoon and sat at our assigned tables. Mr. Martin knew that if he sat boys and girls together, nothing would get done. So he made sure to assign boy- and girl-only tables and the distraction was held down a bit.
Art class was never my favorite class – I must have lacked the vision and coordination to make random lines actually look like something recognizable. My faces looked like watermelons in pain and my houses resembled Kit Kat bars. Needless to say that my doodling was not prominently displayed around the school during parent-teacher conferences.