It's the end of summer, the humidity making its last attempts to cling to young skin. And it does, but it isn't the only cause for the slight sheen on my tender, barely teen aged face. It is something more, fascinatingly simple and complex all at once. My first true kiss. By this I mean my first heart racing, face flushing, knee jellying foray into adulthood kiss. The kind that takes your breath as it happens, and again as you recall it sitting in the stuffy confines of your high school classroom days later. And for weeks and months after that. Oddly, recalling it now can still cause a slight flush to rise to my cheeks.
There is a bench that sits on a sidewalk. To look at it, you would see only wood and metal crafted into a structure conducive to sitting. I, however, see the possibility of love blooming on the cheeks of a younger version of myself. I see the hormonal and love crazed boy that made me giddy and wild with teenage longings. I see his bleached out denim jacket, the mole on his right cheek and the blue eyes that would burn a hole into my secret heart. Is it extraordinary, to see all of that from looking at a common bench? Those pieces of lumber have trapped a part of me within them - long ago tucked away. I see these vivid images and I immediately feel the perspiration on my skin, smell the wanting of this boy, taste the sweet sugary cotton candy as our tongues meet. It is a pocket of time that, until I saw that bench again, even I had forgotten.
The end of summer brings the annual county fair. It is a place of wonder, and the escapes of parental confines. The air still speaks of summer, but encourages thoughts of autumn. And the smells of funnel cakes, sausage sandwiches, lemon shakes, and buttery popcorn hang heavy in the air. There is a desperate sense of first love floating in the branches of the trees and woven through the spokes of the big Ferris wheel, churning the couples in a dizzying whir of lights. Somewhere, near the voices of the hawkers of 80's hair bands locker sized mirrors, the screams of delighted children and the root-a-toot toot of the calliopes, the thrum of the crowd and the roar of the pulling tractors; two young people will seal their fates by sitting on a bench and making their own history.