Kneeling before Him...
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Thursday, October 07, 2004
When I had just turned eleven there was this boy that lived just up the road. He was thirteen, maybe fourteen. He was the baddest of the bad boys on the street. He was the type that if he lived to eighteen, you just knew he would be in a jail cell. He was dangerous and he was mean and he took what he wanted from all the kids in the street. No one was brave enough to say no to him. He had no compunction about hitting first and asking questions later.
Funnily enough, he was a good friend of my brother. They were about the same age. It was a strange relationship because although my brother was captain of the football team, he was also a brain and a school prefect and never in trouble. On the other hand Adrian was never out of it. But they were inseparable for the year that Adrian lived in our street.
Adrian took an instant liking to me, I don't know why, but for a long time I was treated like a little sister. He would torment the hell out of me every chance he got. He would not allow any other boys near me and I was always on his team for touch football in the yard. (I was only allowed to play when they were one short. They would only give me the ball in an absolute emergency and anyone that hit me too hard got a sharp smack in the teeth.) I adored him with abandon, even when he pinned me down and tickled me until I couldn't breathe. Hell especially when he treated me that way.
My parents always seemed to be oblivious to the fact that we were growing up. I am not sure how that happened, as we were right there before their eyes. I had developed buds of breasts and there was hair appearing in places that it never used to be and still they just saw a little girl. In many ways I was. I was so very young and had so little clue but many of the things I felt and thought seemed quite grownup. When Adrian held me on the ground there were things I felt in the pit of my stomach that I very much doubt it ever occurred to them I felt. I think Adrian knew though and he took great delight in making me scream with laughter until I couldn't scream anymore.
There were many times that he had pinned my arms down with his knees and when he had enough of tormenting me he would lean over me and I could feel his breath on my face and I wanted him to kiss me but he didn't. He would just study me a moment or two. Then he would be gone, off playing football or beating up someone. I would be left alone to try and figure out what it was I felt and I had to do that alone. I knew that I couldn't tell anyone. I knew it was wrong. I knew it was bad and I always wanted him to do it more.
There was a day towards the end of the year when we were sitting under the trees near the dam that was on the property across the road. All the kids in the street used it as a swimming hole. The old man that owned it didn't mind, as long as we used the gate and didn't jump the fence. We all obeyed that one rule, because if we didn't we knew we would be the reason that no one could swim. It was high summer and stifling hot and I remember wishing that Adrian would tickle me but it was just too hot for him to even think about us being that close. There were a heap of us, either in the water or lazing about under the trees drying off but somehow in the crowd there was a moment when it seemed that Adrian and I were alone. I sat there staring at him and I think he was ignoring me until the weight of my stare got too much and he looked back at me.
'What do you want?' He asked.
'To kiss you.' I blurted out and then almost died with embarrassment. To this day I have no idea where it came from or how it managed to get out of my mouth.
Adrian was amused and moved slightly towards me. 'Here? Now? With everyone around?'
'NO!' I was horrified and I recoiled from him. God, if he kissed me in front of everyone, I would surely die.
He smiled at me and got up and dove into the water. He swam quickly to the other side then back again. He climbed out and shook himself off. None of us used towels when it was this hot. In fact no one even worried too much about swimmers, underwear or shorts and t-shirts were just fine. He just had on shorts.
'Come with me,' he said and held out his hand. 'I want to show you something.'
I took his hand and he helped me up off the ground then let me trail along behind him to his house. We went into the garage and it was dark and smelled of grease and I wasn't at all scared to be in there with him. I adored him and I knew he wouldn't hurt me and being so young, I was curious what it was he wanted me to see. I was so naive.
He pulled me close to him and moved me so there was a post at my back, one of the supports for the garage. I thought for a moment he was going to tickle me and I giggled and he smiled at me. He leaned down and suddenly I realised what he was going to do and I stopped mid giggle and held my breath. He kissed me then, first with lips closed, then I felt his tongue pry at my mouth. I opened my lips because it seemed the thing to do, then almost vomited when he pressed his tongue inside. I struggled to move away but he held me and I gave in to it, still feeling rather ill. His tongue was in my mouth. Ewww!
We kissed for what seemed like ages. So much longer than I could hold my breath and I had to breathe out through my nose. (I hadn't known you could breathe while being kissed!) It was really just one huge long kiss, no change of position, no breaking of suction, just the single connection. After a while I moved my tongue into his mouth and it didn't really seem quite so gross as I thought it was. I was sort of liking it a little especially when he sort of moaned.
We didn't stop until someone outside called his name and he pulled away from me and swore. I just stood there looking at him. He smiled at me.
'There,' he said. 'Now you have been kissed.' He turned and walked towards the garage door before turning back to look at me. 'I am going back to the dam. Are you coming or what?'
'Yeah,' I said and walked over to where he was waiting for me.
When I was standing beside him, I looked at him and he looked so much older and I felt so much older. It really was quite strange.
'You really are quite beautiful.' He said. 'I think, sometime, I am going to kiss you again.'
I smiled at him, not knowing what to do or say, just knowing that if kissing him made him think I was beautiful, I wanted him to kiss me again. It wasn't my first kiss, not really. The first was with a cousin, a girl, and I hadn't felt either the repulsion or excitement when she and I had kissed. It had been organised, planned and although tongue had been involved, we really had just let them touch, then pulled away giggling like little girls, nothing more.
He shoved me out the door and challenged me to a race back to the dam and as he ran ahead I just skipped along behind. I didn't have a hope in hell of beating him. I wasn't even going to try. Suddenly we were just two kids again.
By the time that summer was over the kissing was almost a daily thing and the tickling had completely stopped. It was different between us now. Play like that seemed somehow dangerous to us both, though neither of us would have been able to explain it or tell anyone why. It was just safer if we left it as something we didn't do.
He moved away at the end of summer and I was completely devastated. There was no way for us to keep in touch, the idea of us writing to each other was just too odd, we were just kids and at the mercy of our parents. Turned out it wasn't long before we had moved too.
I don't know what happened to Adrian. I don't know where he ended up or if he made it or what he does now. In a way that is good because I can remember him as nothing more than the bad boy that lived up the street. I can remember him with the purity and sweetness of the moment, not when he kissed me, but when he told me I was beautiful and that he would like to do it again. There was an innocence and openness that grown ups cant quite capture, an honesty that existed because we didn't understand the way in which lies are used.
There have been times this year when I have sat in the garden and smelt the heat of summer in the air and I have ached for the times that were so much less complicated, when a kiss was the most exciting and naughtiest thing I knew, when Adrian was the biggest and strongest figure in my life and he was the gentlest and sweetest too.
And then Mac has kissed my fingertips or stroked my cheek and I have realised that with all the noise that happens to us and in all the different directions we are pulled, the biggest and strongest figure in my life is still the gentlest and sweetest and as much as I wish I understood the games that people play, I am still as naive as that freshly kissed girl.
I am not sure that is a good thing in this world.