Kayla Bashe 

People I Kissed Before I Realized

Thirteen, summer camp dance, pen tattoos between the pimples on my shoulderblades, mascara streaking down my cheeks. Flip-flops on concrete. Thirteen and never kissed? Too terrible.
Gangly, undercooked, he lacked a chin.
“I don't like this song.”
“Kiss me when the next song comes on, then.”
Black Eyed Peas I've Got A Feeling.
How could such chapped lips be so wet?

Sixteen? Maybe? A poet who tangled spring weather with SAT ennui, tied me up in phone cords.
What if we went to the same summer camp?
Please don't ask me for tomorrow. And I'd shiver in my basement. I can barely give you now. The glass panels of Museum archives. Ballet flats on tiled floors, couscous and pannacotta fresh in my mouth.
“No one's watching.”
Chairs and portraits mutely staring as he maneuvered my back against the glass.
Ballet flats on tiled floors. I sprinted away.
He sulked in the Egyptian tomb and was silent in glass. Prudish guilt a battering ram. I let him give me a goodbye kiss before he got back on the train.

Seventeen and June mosquitos. David Tennant sprinting through laptop-screen glare. That boy was a comedian, animal-shelter skinny, mischief brown eyes.
“I have allergies- don't put things in my mouth. I can't have your tongue in my mouth.”
I gave him a massage while he glared at the Daleks. The fireflies didn't come out that night.

The back of a van with my best friends from choir. Diet Pepsi staining regulation-white blouses, kicking off our black silk tights, laughing arpeggios and blaring Les Mis onto the highway.
Truth or dare: have you ever gotten suspended?
On my fourth handful of M&Ms, “We should have a makeout dare.”
“I'll kiss you, Kayla,” a girl spoke up.
The contralto's lips were uncannily soft, like her hair, like her cheek. Headlights passed into stars.

(She messaged me on Facebook the next morning. I couldn't write back.)

Kayla Bashe is a Jewish lesbian living and studying in the New York area. Her work has appeared in Liminality Magazine, Vitality Magazine, and Solarpunk Press, and her novellas are available from Torquere Press and Less Than Three Press. Find her on Twitter at @KaylaBashe.