Lean Into the Kiss

He kisses me. It has been one year, one month and three days since I have been kissed — following a marriage in which I was told my body was not worthy of touch, and my emotions were too, well, emotional to warrant attention.

We are colleagues who happen to be stepping out into the night from a holiday work party at the same time. I have been laughing a lot, he has been drinking (a lot?), and suddenly, he is holding my face with an exquisitely pained look of desire and bringing me in.

He releases me, runs across the street to his car. It is raining, the way it always rains in scenes like this in movies. I become the third-person omniscient narrator studying this strange, new version of myself: a woman just kissed by a man.

Feeling desired, being kissed, liking it: the simplest and most extraordinary of moments. I had ruled out such possibilities.

This man’s mouth on mine called me back into my body — this weary workhorse of a body that was sliced open to bring my son into the world, that hasn’t slept through the night in the three years since, that was rejected for its post-pregnancy belly, that has no muscle memory of anything beyond survival.

A few, confusing days later, the colleague brings up his girlfriend at a work meeting. Our kiss clearly a mistake, or even something less significant than that. But what it means to him is not the point. Whether it happens again, with him, is not the point.

The point is: I am a woman who was kissed and who liked it. I am a woman who leaves the house and laughs in the company of adults. There will be other men out there to lean into in the rain, filling the startling change purse of my heart with kisses.

* * * * *

The point is: You are a woman who will be kissed and who will like it. You will leave the house and laugh in the company of adults. There are joys you can’t begin to imagine lining up behind the scenes of whatever misery is weighing you down right now. Those joys are gathering strength and coloring themselves in as they wait to make their dramatic appearances when the curtains of your heart part.

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