During the summer between 7th and 8th grade, I experienced a rite of passage that almost every living, breathing human being undergoes…their first kiss. And as is so typical of Tracy, it was not your average kiss. No, mine did not happen at the end of a first date, or in the dim lights of the school gym during the Miss LHS dance. No, mine was not so sweet as that.

I spent a lot of weekends with my Aunt Carol growing up. My Aunt is a blog post or two in itself – I loved her dearly and her apartment was home sweet home for me at least one weekend out of every month. She lived in a complex that took up an entire block…a rather large block. There must have been 40 to 50 apartment buildings housed on that one block. There was a group of younger boys I played with that lived in the building right next to Aunt Carols, so I usually stayed right in her little courtyard.


However, kids will be kids and at times we got bored. That’s when we would stray. We never left the block, but we would wander along the pathways that led to other courtyards, and other kids. I didn’t know any of them because I lived in another town, but my friends knew them, and they usually didn’t get along with them. There would be taunting and chasing, and we’d eventually wind up back where we belonged – usually after some wise words from me. I’m not a big fan of confrontations.

One day during that summer between 7th and 8th grade, there was a boy I’d never seen before. We’d been walking through the complex and he was out hitting wiffle balls, sporting a NY Mets cap. My friends, being Yankees fans, began breaking his chops about the Mets. This is a totally normal NY/NJ occurrence…Mets fans get picked on. It’s almost like a food chain thing.

His name was Tony, and I was a tad smitten. I was around 14 at the time, and he must have been 16. He was cute…dark hair, cut off jean shorts and a halfway decent physique. When we began teasing him, he started to chase us around. I liked it. I especially liked getting caught.

It was getting late and moms began to call their kids home for dinner. I told my friends to tell my Aunt I’d be right there. I was having fun playing “tag” with this very cute guy who was more my age than the boys I usually played with when I stayed with Aunt Carol. It was warm and the sun was going down, and I was having too good of a time to go home.

We kept chasing each other for a few more minutes and I remember I plopped on the ground to catch my breath. He grabbed me and said “Gotcha!” I was saying stuff like “The Mets still suck!” and he was tickling me. The next thing I knew, he had pinned me down with the plastic wiffle ball bat. He hung over me for a second or two and that’s when he did it.

I knew he was going to kiss me, I just didn’t realize it was going to be a KISS kiss. Rather than a soft, innocent kiss, he mashed his lips against mine and before I knew it his tongue was in my mouth.

His breath was really bad. I thought, “Is this what kissing is like?” I was not enjoying this.

In fact, I found it utterly repulsive.

I got up and ran home. A few minutes later there was a knock at my Aunt’s door. There was Tony through the peephole! I begged my Aunt to tell him I was in the shower…anything to avoid talking to him. I was both embarrassed and disgusted – I’d reacted like a child, but I couldn’t help myself. It was so gross!

The next day I saw him again, and he apologized. I told him I just wasn’t used to kissing that way and that he’d caught me off guard. It was so uncomfortable talking to him. I was sure he thought I was a total baby for running away. After that when I went to visit Aunt Carol I steered clear of his section of the complex.

Now it’s just another story I tell my girls during boring drives home from town. My introduction to boys and romance was balls to the wall. There was no dipping my toe in the pool to see how it felt – I got pushed in the deep end instead.