by Mary McGlasson
It was a truth-or-dare dry brush of lips, scented with the warm beer and cigarettes that lurked in the breath behind our closed mouths. You and I stood, leaning across the rickety, scarred card table and bracing our palms there, our mouths touching in the middle while everyone else hooted and cackled and Metallica snarled into the smoke-heavy air.
When it was over, I laughed a little and picked up my can of Milwaukee’s Best, face burning. I tried not to look at you. We’d just met that night. You weren’t cute—acne bloomed in pink clumps on your pale cheeks and forehead around too-large plastic glasses—but you were tall and funny and older, and your hair was blond and defiantly long. When I worked up the courage for a glance, I saw that you were blushing, too, and there was good-humored embarrassment in your smile when you looked my way. My stomach tilted. Your eyes were blue and warm.
You were still smiling when your brother’s fat-assed girlfriend Shirley, my sort-of friend who’d invited me to their trailer for the party and introduced me to you, barked out something about you being a pussy: That bullshit wasn’t a real kiss, Troy-boy. You shook your head and said something I couldn’t hear over or under the music. I held my breath, waiting. A real-kiss dare to make you hold me close, to make my heart skip in my chest.
Then, finally—dare, she said from her ugly, glossed mouth, and we all listened as she gave the instructions. You rose from your chair, but this time, I sat still, clenched fists in my lap, and watched in silence as you walked around the table to some girl I didn’t know and kissed her, long and slow and with your tongue.