I had strict parents.
My first love and first kiss are not the same person. In the interest of being honest or earnest, my first kiss came from a dude named Leon in my 7th grade homeroom at Yeatman Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri.
It was the second semester of 7th grade, and we were playing Truth or Dare. Or was it Spin The Bottle. I think it was Spin the Bottle. Our teacher, Mr. Kelsey, was gone somewhere (because I went to a public school; this is the type of shenanigans we did.), and the bottle landed on Leon. I got up and put both hands around his almost Jesse Williams-esque face, and kissed him smooth on his face. I remember the crowd of kids in desks around making the ceremonial siren noise “Oooooh!” I remember I skipped back to my seat. Why did I skip? I mean, I was 12. I hadn’t had my first kiss and according to the books I was reading (Sweet Valley High, The Baby-Sitters Club) most girls had gotten their first kiss by 13! I thought I was behind the curve. Sorry, Leon. It meant nothing. It was all business.
First love? Oh, wow! There’s something a little more complicated. My childhood sweetheart, is not my first love (spoiler!). When thinking about who that young man is? It is a young man by the name of Daniel B. Nelsen. I met him when I was about 17 and I was a Senior in high school. He asked me to marry him, and I said yes, but I had no idea how to be a good girlfriend (let alone someone’s wife!). But Danny was sweet, attentive and utterly wonderful. He was a reminder that good guys still exist, and I deserved one.
Where he is now? I don’t know. But wherever his head lay, I hope that he can still think of me and smile. And mean it.