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Tanuja Pingali



Tanuja Pingali


First Kiss

First Kiss

9 mins 220 9 mins 220

/**This is a contest entry. The highlighted words are the prompt. It has American High School backdrop because that was a requirement for that contest.**/

I had been planning my first kiss ever since I was old enough to understand about it —much more keenly after I turned sixteen.

It would be with someone whom I liked —just after sunset, under the blue-grey sky, behind a silhouetted tree, cool breeze causing goosebumps on my skin, and an army of butterflies dancing in my tummy.

A year and a half later, never in my wildest imagination had I ever pictured the identity of the special someone to amend to my best friend, Alex.

Slowly, I realised that I’m in love with my best friend.

Life as I knew it had been forever changed. It was the worst time of my life. My realisation did not change anything between us, but effectively put a lid on my everlasting wish to get kissed. That made me wonder if it would be fulfilled at all. I badly wanted to kiss my best friend.

I never knew I could carry such explosive feelings, and sometimes, I was ashamed of these perverse thoughts but was helpless.

As days went by, my frustration grew and I became anxious. I didn’t know what to do with this crazy, stupid love. It became a double-edged sword. Though I wanted to be with Alex all the time, it was equally painful to carry the burden of these feelings and be cheerful around all my other friends.

Love is such an intimate feeling between two people. In my case, since the other person was unaware, my love gradually became irrevocable perhaps somewhat of an impossible ideal.

At this juncture, a new boy Tim moved into our locality and our school. He was the perfect definition of cool and sweet. He was neither a sportsperson nor a nerd, but somewhere in between.

The same could be said about all of us in our group. We were not popular or social outcasts.

We were a healthy mix of friends with above-average grades, varied interest in sports and enjoyed the pleasant life of the school by being invisible.

I still remember that day. It was his first day, and he was looking for a free space to eat his lunch at the school cafeteria. Before he could become the target of all the curious stares, bullying and signs of unwelcome, I swooped in to save the day.

We did share a couple of classes earlier, and I knew he was new.

“Hey there, Tim isn’t? Want to join us?”

He was relieved to find a known face, swiftly joined us and uttered a small Thank you before he sat down.

I quickly made introductions around the table, “Tim? this is Sam, Jules, Alex, Kyle and Taylor.”

My motley crew of friends strangely had unisex names including mine. Tim, however, was named as aptly as a boy.

After a brief pause, while he made himself at home, all of us bombarded him with questions.

“So where are you from?”

“How come you moved here?”

“What classes are you taking?”

“Are you single?”

“Do you play any sport?”

“Where do you stay?”

Tim blinked twice but appreciated our unreserved acceptance. He then said something that caught our collective tongues, “I’m not from one place. I was born at the back of a truck. My parents are hippies and wanted a change of scene, so we ended up here!”

We gaped at him with rounded eyes.

He briefly chuckled at our expressions, “That’s better!! To tell the truth, my dad is in the military. It’s just dad and me after mom passed away. He took a desk job but has to change bases. I was born in an army camp. Can’t divulge the location because I don’t know. With the kind of life, I have, I’m always single. It’s not by choice, trust me!! I used to play basketball. But right now, not into sports anymore. I stay around the corner, just five minutes away from here. I’m straight and ride a bike if you are interested.”

His amusing, yet, highly informative introduction caught us all off-guard, and the last line made the girls in the circle scoff. He, however, caught my gaze and winked, to which I gave him a small smile.

Soon, we all felt very comfortable around him.

I welcomed Tim’s company with open arms for lack of doing anything better. It provided much-needed relief from my one-sided feelings for Alex.

Tim was a confident guy, and his feet were firmly planted on the ground. He could charm the pants off anyone alright! But, he rarely turned on his charm.

He was soon replacing Alex as my best friend. Alex would always hold a special place in my heart, yet, it was evident to everyone in the group that Tim held a special place too.

To be honest, I did not know if I was leading him on, but he was the kind of guy who did not risk his feelings. He knew change was inevitable as his father was always on the move, and he had to follow in his wake.

I, completely, gave up on changing my status from a virgin-kisser. As time flew by, I was psyched about the whole first kiss.

I was desperate to kiss somebody, anybody, except the janitor, or the teaching staff, or anyone, above the age of twenty. It is my first kiss, after all.

It was soon time for Winter Formals. All high-schoolers were busy trying to find dates.

Sam, the heartthrob of our gang, asked the shy Kyle, and she accepted. We all had our theories about them. They had eyes only for each other, and it was high time somebody made the move.

Taylor, the math dude, asked Jules, the fashionista, which came as a huge surprise. We were more surprised when she accepted it. We had so many couples in our gang.

Nobody knew of my secret love for Alex. Nobody could guess either, given both of us were girls.

I was not coming out anytime soon, as I was not sure about my sexuality. I was surely attracted to her and often imagined a relationship with her if she was up for it. The whole sharing my first kiss with her was kind of burned in my mind.

At the same time, I was not averse on talking about boys, and their anatomies when we girls got together. I could be bi-curious, bi-sexual, gay, pansexual or just asexual, with nothing to do with sex at all. But whom am I kidding!

As Formals drew close, it was apparent that neither Alex nor I had dates. My gang was slowly nudging Tim to ask either one of us. Now Tim knew something was amiss with me since I might have nullified one or two of his advances, and he was sceptical.

I, on the other hand, secretly prayed for Alex to not to land with a date. I could then easily convince her to go as friends, and I might eventually end up kissing her. Even if she was not into girls, I could at least get my first kiss out of the way. It was a lot of what if’s.

But the PERSON above decided to intervene with my optimistic plans in the form of Evan, who asked Alex and she readily accepted.

“How can you not have a date?” Alex asked when we went out to pick dresses for the dance. I was not keen on buying anything at all, but I might be tempted if something caught my fancy. There was always a chance of Evan falling sick. Nothing wrong in being optimistic.

“I don’t know. I guess nobody finds me interesting?” I replied helping her with her dress.

It was the finest hour of my existence. I was so close to her, I could kiss her. Oh, GOD! I need to remove my mind from the gutter. Plus, Jules and Kyle were in the changing rooms just around the corner.

“I thought Tim would ask you. I don't want to go if you are dateless,” she muttered out of the blue. I was date-less? Not sure if that was a valid word, but it aptly described my state.

“We are just friends, Alex. Nothing is going on between us. If no one asks, I’ll still go as your friend. Maybe, snatch a dance or two from all of you all. Deal?”


Tim eventually asked me out, and I accepted to not to disappoint him. I, however, was determined to get rid of my first kiss, at the Formals, at any cost.

On the day of the Formals, we used our collective savings to hire a Limo, as the tradition dictated. The school arranged the dance at a ballroom facility with catering services.

However, we had a grand dinner and then made it to the venue in our hired Limo.

While Tim looked dapper in a black suit, and I, in a burgundy flare dress that ended right above the knees, the rest of the gang was equally dressed to impress. Standing tall was none other than Alex, in a turquoise, backless dress.

We had the time of our lives dancing, that slowly turned rowdy with someone smuggling in a DJ and booze.

The anticipation was building. In the middle of all the dancing chaos, I wanted to grab Alex and kiss her senseless, with none the wiser. But I held back.

Alex was having a blast with Evan. All my friends were happy within their little bubbles. I couldn't disturb any of that.

And then, I thought if this was how I wanted to get my first kiss. The answer was a resounding 'NO'.

I wanted to let it happen naturally, without the press of bodies filled with alcohol, or the thumping music bursting my eardrums. 

I couldn't move as my bleak eyes traced Alex's clumsy dance moves. Tim noticed it.

He took my elbow and lead me out to the cheerful garden, right next to the ballroom. It was relatively empty with only a couple of couples strolling around.

The sheer frustration of holding back all my feelings took a front seat, and I broke down. I never let out my feelings so easily.

Tim did not know why I was crying but took me in his arms, to comfort.

I contained my tears and blurted out, “I think I’m in love with Alex." I waited with bated breath for his reaction.

When he did not respond, I slowly added, "Not sure if I’m gay but I love her. And I wanted to share my first kiss with her today. It’s just so… I don’t know. I’m deeply attracted to her, but I like boys too. This is so confusing. I’m not making any sense anymore.”

He heard my rant without blinking an eye for which I was truly grateful.

After a long pause, he asked, “Shall I tell you something?”

When I nodded, he continued, “I’m not one to judge. I’ve seen a lot of people because my dad and I are always moving. And trust me, it is not simple to say that I’m straight.”

He took a deep breath and said, “I lost my first kiss, and my virginity on the same night. I was fifteen and remember nothing of it. I think you should wait for the right time, and with the right person, the kiss would lead to something entirely different. More beautiful, magical and very real. You’ll know it, and you’ll not back out.”

I couldn't respond, and we both stood in the same place for a long time.

After a few minutes of silence, I didn’t know what came over me, “Tim, I might sound weird, but I trust you as my friend. I know you’ll not hurt me. Will you kiss me?”

Though he slightly stiffened he asked, “Are you sure?”


“Then, it’ll be my honour.”

He tilted my head up and claimed my lips in a gentle, slow kiss— born out of mutual friendship, respect and trust. That, I’m sure I'll remember forever. It somehow turned anticlimactic, except I had no complaints.

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