Since I told you about kindergarten, I must tell you this as well. Kindergarten was where I got (or I should say gave) my first kiss. Oh, yes, I remember it. I remember a few things about kindergarten. I remember that there was a girl who had gone to Mexico for a mission trip or a vacation or something like that, and she brought back slides. I remember that one of the slides was about a volcano, although it didn't look like a volcano to me. It looked like a boring old rock sticking up in the air, because volcanoes were supposed to spew vast amounts of orange-red lava high into the stratosphere, weren't they? And you couldn't get near enough to them to take a picture like that could you? I don't know why I recall these things and not others, but for some reason, I remember the girl who brought the slides from Mexico, and the slide of the volcano that didn't really resemble what I referred to as a volcano at the time. I still do refer to volcanoes that way in my mind, since it's a little more exciting to see molten earth shooting out from giant holes in the ground. And of course I remember my first kiss. It was not a kiss on the cheek or lips. But it was a simple kiss on the hand. The girls name was Melody. Of course she was the only Melody in the world, so she didn't have a last name. Why should she? She had blonde hair (what is it about blonde hair?) and a gawky manner like we all did then. I made up my mind to kiss her and I did. I said something romantic that I had heard on television, and I took her right hand and I leaned over and kissed it. She smiled and giggled. And then the most horrible thing happened. Everybody laughed at me. How could these people, who I had been with nearly every day for the eternity of a few months, how could they laugh at me?! I had done this brave thing, that only men do when their hearts are stolen by a woman of great comeliness. What was there to laugh at? Oughtn't the girls to swoon and the boys to cheer? Oughtn't the world to stop and know that I, Adam Whipple had made up my mind to kiss this girl and then had done it? Didn't they know that I was Adam G. Whipple and I could quote every Disney movie I had ever seen - including all the songs - including the song "Kiss the Girl" from the Little Mermaid, which I could sing with Sebastian's Jamaican accent (but that came later I think)? Should Ms. Smiley pause and take a moment of silence to commemorate my heroic actions in front of the class?
But none of these things happened. The class giggled. The teacher fought a grin and then told Melody and I to return to our activity centers. Boys built with blocks. Girls played house. People colored and folded paper. The world refused all my wishes and demands that it should pause for just a minute and yet - maybe it didn't. Maybe the reason I'm telling you one of the few things I remember from kindergarten, maybe the reason I remember it at all, is that the world DID stop. Maybe, for just an immeasureable fraction of a second, too small for me to notice in my deep concentration, the world paused to breathe a contented sigh before going on in its dizzy way. That was my first kiss. Now I am engaged to Katrina, and the kisses, like wine, seem to have gotten better with time.