my relationship with kate moved relatively slowly at first. obviously, we’d met the day her longtime live-in boyfriend moved out, and this guy, jason, had been kate’s only real relationship ever…starting in college and lasting something like five years.
i was very aware of that. i was also immediately kate’s friend, because chalise had brought us together and had always faithfully trusted my advice about men and relationships. in turn, i ended up as a confidante to the two of them…wasting many a weeknight staying up late on their porch talking kate through the experiences she was having. debating love and relationships with the two of them over wine and home-cooked dinners.
when i think back, it’s hard for me to find the moments which revealed kate and i to be more than new friends. for a long while i wanted that line to exist…i wanted her to process her old relationships and find happiness…i wanted it the way her best friend wanted it.
after a while i wanted those things, but because i wanted us to have a real chance.
one of the few things i know is that a real relationship needs to time to become a past relationship. breaking up or moving out doesn’t mean that a relationship no longer exists. part of it sticks around, in each person’s heart, and like the magnet that first brought two people together can continue to pull at them once it’s over.
that process can happen quickly if there’s an anchor or catalyst involved; someone cheats, or some betrayal occurs.
but when a relationship runs it’s course, and doesn’t work out for the subtle reasons…usually the tail end of that course doesn’t end abruptly. lives have to adjust. realities have to re-settle. perceptions of things like attraction, sex, trust, and friendship gradually find new meanings.
so i hesitated. i separated my desire for her from my sympathy and support for her.
a few times, here and there, i’d ask to crash in her bed, or she’d ask me herself.
we’d stay up late talking about our lives and the way we thought the world worked. she’d ask me about my past relationships, and worry she was inexperienced in love. i’d assure her that i felt all the fears and questions she felt. she’d amaze me with her conviction and self-confidence.
our differences became oceans for our conversations to swim around in.
and then once night realized i was going to kiss her.
we laid in her bed, and i remember it hit me that i wouldn’t sleep unless i kissed her. she was talking, and i can’t remember what she was saying because of how vividly i remember the fear i felt.
i laid there and felt every physical and proverbial line that i was about to cross, with no real idea as to how kate would react…with no doubt whatsoever that it was going to happen.
i thought about her somewhat recent past.
i though about the signs she’d given me, and the fantastic relationship we’d had for months…not a day had past without talking or spending time together.
i wondered if it’d be a good kiss, or an awkward kiss…would she kiss me back?
it is without a doubt the kiss i’ve most over-thought in my entire life.
and i think those fifteen million thoughts were all raced through my head in about ten minutes.
i felt like i had a lot to lose, and i was hyper-concerned about our timing.
i worried about everything that could go wrong.
and then i leaned up on one arm,
she looked at me and quite talking,
and i planted one on her.
all that worrying was for naught…
because it was a memorably phenomenal first kiss.