They are bittersweet things.

Earlier this week, a high school girlfriend visited me in my dreams. No, it wasn’t that kind of dream. Unfortunately. Like most of my dreams, it was just a flash. A few seconds in a place and time that never existed. But she is real. Or at least, she was.

The last time we spoke was over a quarter of a century ago. She was engaged to a guy in my graduating class, and they were moving to somewhere in the midwest. Kansas, I think. I heard she moved back to the town in Virginia where we graduated from high school some years later, but this report was never confirmed.

My memories are probably clouded with time and colored by how I hope things were. I remember the softness of the dresses that she always wore. I remember how good she felt in my arms. I remember her soft but passionate kisses.

The kisses were special. She was only the second girl I ever kissed. But we kissed a lot. We experimented with different styles and techniques, and decided that we both liked the same thing. Tongues were a distraction. Opening one’s mouth too far just messed up things. It is amazing just how much you can put into (and get out of) a kiss that involves only slightly parted lips.

I have been haunted by that ever since. I have come to avoid kissing. Mostly, I think, because I don’t think I’m very good at it. At least not the way they are supposed to be done. And how most women I’ve kissed since then expect to be kissed. I mean, what the fuck am I supposed to do with my tongue in someone else’s mouth? And how am I supposed to react in a positive manner while my mouth is being invaded by a foreign tongue? And opening up too widely increases the volume of the area too much to properly maintain attachment suction. OK, TMI. Again.

I also remember and regret that I never truly grasped what I had with her, much less valued her for the prize that she was. A painful lesson I learned much too late.

C, wherever you are, whatever your life circumstances are, I hope you are happy. I hope life has been good to you, and I wish you many more good years. I miss you, and I am sorry I was such an ass. I should have known better, even if I was only seventeen. You certainly deserved better.

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