I remember my first kiss, I do not remember the specifics, specifically her name.

The details I remember are faded, specifics all but gone, but I’ll do my best to tell a little story. I believe I was 13, it was a school trip to go to a Mets game, GO METS!! It was afternoon when we got on the bus; details are vague here so just imagine a bunch of 13-ish school kids on a bus, going to a Mets game, circa 1981. Got a mental image? Do you see their clothes, the music playing on a transistor radio, the conversations they are having. Imagine a small boy, not tiny but small enough to be made fun of. He’s wearing some hand-me down outfit, something he didn’t actively have a say in, he didn’t get to define his style, it was what someone today might say is “poor-couture”, it was clothing.

The game comes and goes, specifics totally lost to me, and we get on the train to head back home. I just now realized we were on a train, not a bus!!  Good old LIRR. Anyway, back to this smaller than normal sized boy in clothes he did not choose, sitting on a train after a day at a Mets game he has no memory of in NYC; heading back home to Long Island. In the various conversations and discussions around the train car he spots a girl. What exactly brought my attention to her I could not tell you, but I was transfixed. As the train ride went on, my apparent infatuation with her grew and I became the topic of conversation. I remember mumbled voices, muted laughing, maybe a push or a shove as 13-ish yr olds do when they are teasing each other.

I do not remember specifics, but I remember my focus on her. Everything around me faded to this golden hue that only a sunset can create, a hue I am continually fascinated with, along with sun-flare that made her look like an angel. As the train ride continued I remember these things: she was older than me, she lived around the corner from me – close enough I could ride my bike to her house, she had red hair (ahem Kimberly, I think we figured out why I love you as a red-head). She smiled at me and she was polite. Not once did she tease me for being this pie-eyed smaller than average sized kid in clothes he did not chose to wear.  I was … in love.

End scene: cut to next day or few days after (remember those lost specifics?)

We are standing on a street corner, there was a fire hydrant, I was on my bicycle, and she was much taller than me. I cannot tell you how many times I rode to her house, how many conversations we had, or even if she actually liked me or not. I have no recollection to any of the details. What I do remember is she kissed me on the corner with the fire hydrant, as I stood over my bike, on my tippy toes to reach her. She kissed me and her name was Gabriel (I think)

There’s a story inside that story. Did you see it? It was subtle but it was there, the main point of the story actually.