I should point out that I was twenty at the time. It was this tardiness that made the whole experience so acutely terrifying. We met at a bar. I’d become separated from my friends, and this girl was quick to latch on to me. She wasn’t unattractive, had a lip-piercing, and told me my hair was pretty. So I didn’t run away.
We sat on a sofa romantically located just outside the toilets. I’d always envisioned my first kiss either taking place with lambent fireflies circling and a soporific soundtrack of cicadas, or instead stumbling through the process so drunkenly that I wouldn’t remember it come morning. This was neither. I was woefully sober.
I felt much like a child does when he turns round in the supermarket and finds his mother missing. Only instead of a friendly shop assistant taking my hand until the ordeal is over, there was a girl lunging at my face.
I don’t remember the kiss itself. I do remember her slight sigh of disappointment afterwards. That was it, I thought to myself. Your first kiss.
She removed herself to the toilet (perhaps to shed a tear of shame), leaving me sat opposite a black guy who flashed me a white-toothed grin.
‘That your girlfriend?’
‘No, I just met her.’
Big grin. ‘You gonna take her back?’
Such a development hadn’t occurred to me. ‘I guess so.’ My heart began to pound. Things were moving too fast. I wanted to throw myself on his mercy and beg him to smuggle me safely home. All I managed to utter was, ‘I’m terrified!’
He laughed, and offered no trafficking service. The girl came back from the toilet, and we went back to hers.
Thankfully there’s no need for things to turn pornographic here. She continued to drink while I remained painfully sober. I had my second, third, and fourth kiss and began to get the hang of it. It wasn’t until we snuggled up that things turned sour.
I had removed my jeans for the sake of sleeping in comfort. Our legs entwined, she started whispering to me, ‘So pretty, so pretty.’ A slightly unusual compliment. ‘So pretty. Something so pretty could never hurt me.’
Now it was time to be alarmed. I realised she had hold of my wrists, and when I tried to pull them free she wouldn’t relinquish. I insisted for several minutes that I needed the toilet, and this eventually won my freedom. I promptly started to re-trouser.
‘What’re you doing?’
I was made of excuses: I have a presentation tomorrow; I need some fresh air; I fear tranquilisation and a subsequent awakening to find my kidneys replaced with Monster Munch. She tried for my wrists again but I wriggled loose.
I was going to leave. But I remembered my manners. ‘Thank you for a nice night.’
That’s when the pint glass went airborne. Finally, being sober was valuable. I ducked and the glass smashed to pieces against the door.
‘Now put down your jeans!’ she screamed.
I did no such thing. I slung them over my arm, lunged for my boots, flung open the door and jumped the broken glass into the hall. I ran. I ran for my life. Screams and other things breaking chased me to the front door.I ran bare-legged into the street. I didn’t stop to dress until I was three roads away.