The First Kiss (Act IV, Scene 6 Version)
“So who's the guy I have to kiss?”
Sitting in the director's living room, I listened intently as we introduced ourselves and what role we had in the Agatha Christie play.
I couldn’t help but stare at the young man on the opposite end of the room from me. He was handsome, and young, and quiet, and young, and had very nice lips, and large eyes. And was very young.
“I’m Sergei, and I’ll be playing Philip”, he said.
My character kisses his character at the end of the play.
Hmmm. That would be alright.
I played it cool.
I’d been in an acting workshop for years, and had my share of ‘stage kisses’ in scene work and plays. For the most part, kissing a fellow actor truly is like kissing your cousin. But I knew, sometimes, there was a !zap!, and then hand-holding in the wings, and then manic rubbing of body parts backstage, and late-night “rehearsals” at one of your apartments.
I tried to be myself. The best, cutest, most confident version of myself. I wore lip gloss.
The rehearsals moved to an abandoned elementary school. We had the run of the place, save for a few rooms on the bottom floor that were being leased out by a martial arts school. The cast was fairly large, and we found our cliques and chatted between scenes and took frequent smoke breaks.
He smoked. I smoked.
We’d small-talk it, nothing in particular, the play, or the drive, or the weather. A few of the younger male cast members would come by and interject something stupid and honest, and we’d all laugh.
It took a long time to get to the kissing scene.
We rehearsed in scene order, and the inexperienced director went over and over ad nauseum the bulk of the play. Sergei and I, being the most experienced actors, had a lot of time for smoke breaks. Our conversation turned more personal, but still casual. Every once in a while, though, I’d catch myself looking at him, and he would catch me looking at him, and I’d look away, trying to stifle a grin. I’d look back at him, and he’d have the same grin.
The more I was around him, the smarter I found him. The sexier I found him. The more I wanted to press my nose into him and inhale him.
Finally, the day came for the end scene. There was something wrong with my stomach that day, it felt like caterpillars were a-wigglin’ inside there, and I couldn’t concentrate. The closer we got to the end, the more I felt like running out of the room and throwing up.
Suddenly, I was standing before Sergei, my chest pressed to his, the entire cast staring at us, the director prompting us, “Okay, GO!”
I thought, “Oh my god, this is it.”
I lifted my chin to look in his eyes. He bent down, and I remember thinking, “What sexy eyes he has”, and I noticed how long his eyelashes were, and how soft his lips looked, and how close he was to me. The corners of his mouth turned up, his lips parted, and my body lit on fire.
His lips touched my lips, and oh god don’t stop that please don’t stop kiss me more kiss me harder please….
The kiss lasted a little too long, and we didn’t care.
The other actors whispered and giggled at us.
We didn’t care.
“Ok, good…stop! Stop!”, the director interjected, and we pulled away from each other.
And I saw the look on his face.
It’s a look I’ve seen many times since.
It was the “Oh, baby!” look of a lover who’s just shuddered in you, who wants more of you, who aches for you.
I hope to see that look again tonight.