Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Parenting | Helen O’callaghan - TRIC KEAR­NEY

IS there any­thing more time­less than love? I won­der in pre­his­toric days were there bat­tles over part­ners? Love was cer­tainly alive and well 800 year ago when the Per­sian poet Rumi wrote, “Lovers don’t fi­nally meet some­where. They’re in each other all along.”

How­ever, quite some time be­fore we ever find love we usu­ally have our first kiss. Some are mem­o­rable? Oth­ers, like mine, are less than per­fect.

I was an in­no­cent 11-year-old at­tend­ing a friend’s birth­day party one wet af­ter­noon. We’d taken over the en­tire house for a game of hide and seek. No room was off lim­its. I’d searched in vain for the per­fect spot, only to end up in full view un­der the kitchen ta­ble. As I sat in si­lence, the door creaked open and the geeki­est boy at the party lurched to­wards my hid­ing place.

De­spite my spread­ing my­self out to en­sure there was no room, he pushed his way in, ig­nor­ing my body lan­guage and hiss­ing sounds. I was acutely aware of his body pushed up against mine as the noise of oth­ers be­ing caught about the house broke the si-

“Sit­ting to­gether, look­ing out to sea, the flut­ter in my chest re­turned. We leaned closer, elec­tric­ity spark­ing be­tween us...”

lence. Turn­ing to snarl in his di­rec­tion I was just in time to see his face, as if in slow mo­tion, ap­proach­ing mine, eyes closed, mouth wide open.

I’d no time to re­act as he leaned in for the kill.

I can as­sure you, from that mo­ment on, I can imag­ine ex­actly what it feels like to be kissed by the enor­mous slob­ber­ing tongue of a St Bernard. As I sat wip­ing spit off my face I re­alised, I’d been kissed for the first time.

All com­pet­i­tive­ness left me, as I shot out of my hid­ing spot like the cork out of a bot­tle, with­out a back­ward glance at my pas­sion­ate ad­mirer.

“Yuck,” I thought. “Boys are dis­gust­ing.”

Thank­fully, I re­cov­ered enough to change my mind about boys, but had lit­tle in­ter­est in find­ing any one in par­tic­u­lar. That is un­til I and a gang of fel­low student nurses trav­elled to Cyprus. It was there I first set eyes on yer man... And his brother. Ini­tially, I did my best to ig­nore him, but I couldn’t deny there was a rather un­fa­mil­iar flut­ter in my chest when­ever I saw him smile in my di­rec­tion. The girl who’d ‘never chase a man’ seemed to lose her mind, as she waited in hope for him to ar­rive at the pool each day.

Mid­week through the hol­i­day I de­cided I needed to give my liver a break so waved my party-mad friends off, rel­ish­ing the thought of a quiet night in. Mo­ments later, I an­swered a knock on the door to find yer man from the pool stand­ing there. “Do you want to come out?” Did I what? There were skid marks be­hind me as I jumped on the back of his moped. Just the two of us... and his brother.

We’d a lovely night but as it got late, his brother took off. Sit­ting to­gether, look­ing out to sea, the flut­ter in my chest re­turned. We leaned closer, elec­tric­ity spark­ing be­tween us.

And then it hap­pened. Our first kiss. Did chem­istry ex­plode? Sadly no, the only ex­plod­ing was within my stom­ach as at that very minute my din­ner de­cided it wished to see day­light once more. I raced around the cor­ner leav­ing poor Casanova alone.

A short while later I re­turned, the flut­ter within me dead and buried, “I’m a bit tired,” I said. We drove home in si­lence and I raced in­side, barely a “Good­night” said be­tween us.

Did we even­tu­ally share a first kiss? Let’s just say I’d learned an im­por­tant les­son about chem­istry and dodgy din­ners and yes, yer man is still call­ing to the door 30 years later.

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