I don’t recall having any contact with Ruben between that poetry read and the next that would come 2 weeks later. But I do remember that my cousin Juan was having his wedding around that time, a wedding that would take place in Matamoros, Mexico. My mother, who had had her passport recently renewed, was going to be out of town for a week to attend. To get a bit off topic, she had claimed that there wasn’t enough money for her to afford to bring me along with her, and even so, who would tend to the children while she was away? Surely not my stepfather. He worked almost 12 hours a day, leaving in the early afternoon and returning late into the night. By default, my older brother whom at the time, was living away from home, won that extra seat at the wedding. Of course, I didn’t find out my mother was paying to take him along until she was walking out the door with one of my bags, which was totally empty.
Angry as I was, my mother promised to make it up to me by allowing me free run of the home while she was gone. While it was my duty to tend to the children (James and Elaine, ages 11 and 7 at the time from what I recall), the laundry, the food, dishes, and overall cleanliness of the house, I would also be able to have a friend over one of the nights I was babysitting that week. I would also have the privilege of shoving the youngest, Elaine, off on one of my mother’s friends with promises of a freebie babysitting session from me sometime in the near future. I would shove her off to spend the night so that I could attend the next poetry read.
I had my friend Charlyze spend the night at my house the night before the poetry read so she could attend with me. Because my stepfather had to work, I would have to find my own way of transportation which was to be her mother. We began preparing for to go out hours before the poetry read was even planned to start. A read typically began around 7, so I would always leave at 6; I hopped in the shower to get ready at 2 that afternoon, just after my stepfather had left for work. Of course, as I was preparing to go out, I was also cleaning up the house, preparing my younger brother for any emergencies that might be needed, etc.
Anyway, as it turned out, Charlyze wasn’t able to go. Instead, I called Kat to go with me. And after spending almost an hour preparing my younger brother to be alone in the house for a few hours, we left with her mother. What I wasn’t expecting when we got there was for her mom to actually stay at the coffee shop with us. Of course, Kat had always been a huge trouble maker, so her mother staying with us during a poetry read didn’t pose much of a threat to me. She didn’t even sit with us.
Anyway, I’m just going to go ahead and jump to what happened. Ruben and I had been standing outside smoking when he invited me to take a walk so he could tell me a story about when he had been homeless. As it turns out, he was never really homeless. His girlfriend had broken up with him (he said he was about 19 or 20 when this happened) and he just sort of left his house and spent his time on the streets for about a month. That’s not homelessness, that’s a young boy who was angry and didn’t feel like returning home after his girlfriend breaking up with him. He told me about sleeping out on his friends’ lawns without them knowing, and sleeping on the bleachers at one of the schools nearby. Oh, the knowledge he’d gained from being on the streets for a month. He learned that sometimes homeless people keep dogs with them just in case they get stuck out in the middle of nowhere so they’ll have something to eat. Now, I’m not going to sit here and say I was listening to this story and hanging on every word Ruben said. I’m not that stupid. But I did enjoy his story and find it rather funny.
At this point in our walk, Ruben had led me down an alley that led to the back of the Perk. He had finished his story and I was telling him about my ex-boyfriend Jonathan and the events that had led up to him beating the living shit out of me and our eventual and inevitable break up. I recall telling him about Jonathan’s friend who wasn’t sure what to do when this happened so simply stood and watched. I almost laughed thinking about this. I almost laugh now thinking about it.
So, when we were done walking, we had ended up at the back door of the Perk which we discovered was locked. So we stood outside and talk some more. This was when he remembered that he had forgotten to ask me about something. He inquired about my panties and what color they were (I had hinted that I was wearing a thong) and I told him to simply see for himself.
Anyway, to put it bluntly, I let him feel me up. Of course, when I say this, I also mean that I wasn’t expecting the gentle, yet firm bite to my ass that he gave me. This was the first time that anyone had ever done this to me so, not really knowing how to respond, I moaned softly (surprised) but otherwise hardly reacted. I realize that this is pretty awkward to read about, and thinking back on it now, it actually wasn’t as awkward while it was happening as it is telling about it now.
Moving on though, after he was done fondling me in the alley behind the coffee shop (something that I haven’t thought about in a long time but actually find quite humorous in an awkward way), we stood and looked at each other for a moment. Then, without thinking really about the words coming out of my mouth, I told Ruben that I could never screw around with a guy until I knew how good of a kisser he was. After all, a man’s skill with kissing is a good measure of how his skill would be in the bedroom. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever said something that stupid, but I would look back on this moment for weeks and wish I hadn’t sounded so stupid. Nevertheless, he did kiss me. And I remember thinking the world had stopped turning, stars were falling from the sky, planets were exploding somewhere out in the distance.
He didn’t grab my ass. His hands lingered on my lower back before slowly moving up my sides, brushing past my breasts, and holding tightly to my shoulders. I think I felt his hand touch my cheek. I look back at it like it could’ve been yesterday. In a few brief moments there behind a coffee shop, the entire universe ceased to exist; I felt superhuman, like this one kiss was going to change the world. And it did, it changed my world.
I cannot properly describe this kiss to my readers unless they’ve felt it before themselves. It was that kiss that hypnotizes you, practically puts you in a trance, makes you forget that you’re really standing firmly on the ground. You’re floating away into space. You’re heart flutters, you’re stomach flutters; there’s thousands of butterflies pushing through your body. I didn’t want to let go. I wanted to stay there with my lips connected to Ruben’s forever. I was immediately addicted, and there would now be no way to disentangle Ruben from my grasp nor I from his.
But alas, this kiss ended and we had to return to our positions as student and mentor in the midst of a cruel world that would never see what we had done as acceptable. Of course, would you?