Simon Says

Performed live at Serving The Sentence Fall 2019

Simon Says, Truth Or Dare, Spin The Bottle, Seven Minutes in Heaven. These are all games children play that could lead to a first kiss. Well for me it wasn’t any of these children’s games because I was barely even a child when I finally had my first kiss. I was seventeen! SEVENTEEN! & I’m not pulling a Josie Grosie in Never Been Kissed & saying like “I’ve never had a magical kiss” I’m saying I never had any kiss! I had friends having sex before I had so much as a peck but I believe my first kiss was magical and totally worth the wait. 

It was the summer of 2009 and I was in Ireland for two weeks visiting family, it was the summer before my senior year of high school. It was about a week into the trip when my cousin who a school year ahead of me invited me to her “debs” which is basically the Irish equivalent of a prom. It’s thrown toward the end of the summer and I LOVE to dress up and dance so I was all in. 

The night before the debs I went to a local pub with my family, I already had a great purple dress borrowed from my cousin and I was so excited for the next night I wore  a red lip to the pub because I was feelin myself. 

A little while after we arrived at the pub I realized my childhood crush was there! I had totally forgotten about him for years until I saw him outside with the smokers and suddenly I found myself outside. See, I spent quite a few summers in Ireland growing up and I even went to the local summer camp while I was there so I knew a bunch of my cousins classmates from that. I also spent three weeks in Ireland around the Christmas holiday my freshman year of high school and went to school with my cousin and saw their Christmas pageant. I can say Christmas and not holiday because Ireland is a Catholic country ! 

So at this Christmas pageant I saw Irish girls with crimped hair do hip hop dances and Irish step dancers and a band with my childhood crush play “Chasing Cars” that Snow Patrol song made iconic by Greys Anatomy. He was of course the guitar player and he had spikey blonde hair and blue blue eyes. 

When I saw him again in 2009 he no longer had spikey hair but in 2006 spikey hair was cool. And he looked even cooler with normal hair in 2009. I remembered him from the Christmas pageant and also summer camp where he incessantly teased me for being short when we were in second and third grade. 

So I find myself outside with the smokers and something was in the air other than the smoke because I found myself talking to my childhood crush! He immediately comments on my red lip and we’re off! It was an immediate connection over makeup. I find myself walking inside just to see if he follows me & he does! I keep going room to room in this pub just to see if he’ll follow me. I’m a little mischievous in this way. Finally I sit down and wait to see if he’ll sit down by me and my brother and he does! 

Next thing I know he’s doing magic card tricks for us and I’m calling him Harry Potter because the tricks are magic and I’m a corny 17 year old and then he’s asking me if I have a date to the debs the next day! I already had a ticket but I didn’t have a date and I thought he was asking me so I said no I didn’t have a date and he went and found me one! Not him but some guy in his class! 

I was mortified and disappointed. I really thought he was asking me to go with him. 

Fast forward to the bus ride the next day from another pub to the hotel where the debs are held. I meet my date and sit next to him on the bus. My crush sits behind us WITH HIS DATE! He keeps tapping my shoulder from behind which I of course find adorable. When we finally get to the debs we all dance as a group to stuff like “I’ve Got A Feeling” the hit of the summer– at which point my date asks why they sing “Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday” like why do they sing Saturday twice. I was not impressed. 

I finally grew tired of dancing to my now favorite genre–late 2000s pre 2010 and went to the bathroom and my crush/ stalker followed me! We ended up on a couch and he asked me to kiss him and I was all freaked out so I just kissed his cheek. Which was a big deal for me. Like I said, I never played any of those scandalous games as a child and I was kinda holding out because I’d waited so long 

The day after the Debs was sad because I felt I’d rejected my crush. That evening I went on a walk with my cousin and told her about my regrets. She told me she’d casually text him and we’d try to get him to hang with us that night! 

Luckily he was chill and we ended up at another pub and he drove me & my brother home. He also had cousins in from America (chicago at that) and we all hung out that night and he drove me and my brother and his cousins home. I sat in the front seat and he held my hand, my first ever hand holding and it was magical. He was driving a stick which is normal for Ireland but not for me and every time he had to change gears he returned to my hand. I was smitten. 

When we got to my granny’s house where we were staying he walked me and my brother to the door and kissed the top of my head. I was a little disappointed but I understood he couldn’t exactly kiss me in front my brother. We planned on meeting up the next day, the day before I went home to go to his school to get his leaving cert results. 

The leaving cert is like the ACT/SAT for Ireland but it decides where you go to college. Your overall grades don’t really factor in so its a HUGE deal. So I agreed to go and he picked me and my brother up the next morning. I couldn’t sleep that night. I was so excited to see him! I had never had a crush like this before. 

After a night of no sleep I put on some jean shorts and a floral top and floral underwear because I just had a feeling today was going to be special and he picked us up. 

We went straight to the school and I saw kids my age crying outside because of their results. I was so worried he wouldn’t get the points he needed to go to the school he wanted but when he came outside he was smiling so I knew he was all good. 

We decided to go to a pub and get some snacks before going on a walk to the famous local waterfall. 

As we walked to the waterfall I wondered how we’d get any alone time with my brother, his sister and his two american cousins with us but as we walked they were suddenly gone. We walked the mile and a half towards the waterfall I’d walked to dozens of times but this time the leaves seemed to be greener than ever before and I swear I saw a rainbow. 

The conversation flowed and we were holding hands when about a mile into the walk he turned to me and said in his cute irish accent “I really want to kiss you” I basically melted and then realized I didn’t know how to kiss. 

So he was leaning against a tree and I leaned over and pecked him, grabbed his hand and kept walking! We finally made it to the Waterfall and our respective families turned up and we took a photo and that was that! I finally had kissed someone! 

I went home the next day and couldn’t wait to go tell all my friends how I had had magical kiss walking to a waterfall in Ireland. Next month it will have been ten years since that kiss and I’ve had so many random kisses since, some I can’t even remember but only my current boyfriend can live up to that memory. 

I often over-romanticize things, I’m a Gemini after all and although the kiss wasn’t actually great the lead up and the whole story of my first kiss made me feel like it was worth the wait and really special. Even today, when I’m with people and the story of your first kiss comes up I always smile to myself thinking I have the most magical story. My first kiss was with someone I really liked, and it happened while I was walking to a waterfall in Ireland. Maybe I’m too old to be competitive about first kisses but I also waited until I was seventeen to kiss anyone so anything is possible. . . 

To hear more about this tale please check out the podcast “Classroom Crush” at the link below or wherever you listen to podcasts

https://www.classroomcrush.com/episodes/2018/5/1/have-love-will-travel-with-jaclyn-barker

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