I wrote this four years ago. It was an early memory of a difficult time in my life. Here we go . . .
Bronx Tales: First Kiss
The kiss itself was not all that memorable. It was the consequence of the kiss that I will never forget. Apparently, a boy named Kemone in my second grade class, wrote a note about kissing me after school. I remember happily skipping home from C.E. S. 90x (Community Elementary School) on Sheridan Avenue in the Bronx. My building was only half a block away, but I felt as though I was gliding in slow motion. I could feel my heart beating underneath my blouse and that sudden elation of giddiness one gets when you‘ve acquired what you have been waiting for. The world seemed bright and the possibilities endless. I was thinking, “Does he really like me? Is he my boyfriend now that he kissed me? Does it matter that he’s not Puerto Rican and doesn’t speak Spanish? Will he ask for another kiss?” While all of this ran through my mind, I hadn’t realized that I was only seven years old and shouldn’t be kissing boys.
My grandmother lived on the second floor and my mother often told me to go there after school. I was busily doing my homework at grandma’s kitchen table. You could smell the fried chicken, rice and beans permeating the entire apartment. I left everything at the table and went to use the bathroom. When I returned, to my horror, my nosey cousin read aloud the note which said “Shaharizan, do you like me. Check yes or no. If yes, meet me after school for a kiss.” My mother just happened to come into the kitchen. She had a look which was a mixture of exhaustion, shock and anger. I was rooted to the spot. I calculated how long it would take me to reach the front door of the apartment and escape into the street. I took too long. My mother grabbed me into grandma’s living room. She spanked me so hard, I couldn’t sit properly for two days. I didn’t kiss another boy until fifth grade. Oh and my cousin . . . Well let’s just say her hair was mysteriously cut one evening and she ended up with a short page boy rather than the long locks she was accustomed to.