Five-minute Memoir: Aita Ighodaro remembers her first kiss

 

After two years of lying to my friends about boys I hadn't ever really kissed, I first got my hands on one at the relatively ancient age of 14. He was French. His name was Maxi and he had big arm muscles (well, bigger than those of most 16-year-old boys I knew). A whole two years older than me, he wore faded blue jeans, white cotton T-shirts with the sleeves lobbed off and smoked the occasional illicit roll-up. He hung out on the grassy banks of the river with his gang of buddies. He wrote notes on torn-off, screwed-up pieces of paper. In French! He even had a guitar. I thought him the most glamorous and sophisticated thing I'd ever come across.

I'd known it was going to happen. His friend was my friend's big brother. Chinese whispers had been spread. Via various sets of eardrums, I had agreed to be Maxi's "girlfriend", so I knew that the kiss was inevitable. Inevitability is fine as long as there's no specific date set for it.

For a while we had skirted around the kiss. We chatted a bit on the phone. We spoke a great deal about each other to mutual friends. We met up occasionally, but only in large groups. He with his intense, riverside buddies and me with my gawky, pretty pals. The lot of us hung out, gazing foolishly at one another, our mooning backlit by the afternoon sun and any awkward silences obliterated by the sound of that marvellous guitar.

But all too soon he was there, in the room. At that moment. Not just a mention of him. Not merely a whisper from a friend who said her brother said Maxi said. No, he had arrived alone and in the flesh. It was time for direct interaction with Maxi himself. Two years can feel like a lifetime in certain contexts and seem to pass in the blink of an eye in others. At that particular point, the two-year age gap between us seemed tremendously significant. Those big arms of his suddenly infinitely more pronounced. He was older, wiser, and, crucially, I sensed, he knew exactly how this was all going to work, whereas I was utterly clueless, albeit desperate to impress him.

I can't recall our conversation. Perhaps there wasn't one. Either way it was unimportant. What there was, was a purpose. And had I not been preparing myself for it for years? Was the imminent fulfilment of that purpose not a situation I had long envisioned, and what's more, discussed at length with my girlfriends? Discussed at phone-bill-swelling, parental-eye-rolling, sisterly-derision-inducing length? Alas, all this preparation could not save me.

Ieyed him, standing there on the other side of the room. But he didn't stand still for long. It was about to happen. To steady myself, I placed both hands on either side of me on the table against which I was perched. He, conversely, stood taller. Began his approach.

He seemed to glide towards me in slow motion. All French and suave. I knew it wouldn't be his first kiss. Behind him, I could see that the door remained ajar. There was still a possibility of withholding the inevitable. I should make a dash for it. Run – stagger, rather – on legs about as solid as jelly, to the calm of any place outside that room. But I didn't. Couldn't.

The closer he came towards me, the more deliberately he appeared to be moving. Maxi inched nearer, ever slower. In fact, an act that must have lasted under a minute in total seemed to begin unfathomably slowly. Excruciatingly so. All sorts of deadly clichés sprang to life. Time stood still and all that. I held my breath. He was just seconds away.

I remember that moment of anticipation. Those agonising nerves. The bewilderment.

He was that close. Close enough that I could feel his breath on my face.

I saw a parting of lips. A ferocious flash in dark eyes. A sweeping of long eyelashes. A sweet smile. Then he made physical contact. And I remember that sensation. And the bewilderment again. And the total lack of enjoyment on my part (at first) because of the bewilderment. Then something else.

I began to relax. Started to get the hang of it. The point of it.

Then it was finished.

Next came relief and pride. Relief that I was no longer an inexperienced little girl, pride that I was now a woman (as I'd mistakenly concluded at the time). With hindsight, I was merely a woman-in-training. But with each clumsy meeting of lips I had begun to see the world differently. I felt that life was no longer something that happened to me but that I was an active participant in it. I felt a sort of confidence.

Aita Ighodaro's new book 'All That Glitters' (Corvus Books) is out now

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world