I Kiss Like A Horse - Chicken Soup For The Teenage Soul On Rough Stuff
I kiss like a horse:
Quote: Forgiveness means letting go of a hurtful situation and moving on with your own happiness. -Amanda Ford
He was the first boy to ask me to prom. He was also the first boy to dump me two days before the dance. My dress was scarlet, and I spent every afternoon after school on my tiptoes, dancing before the mirror with my hair in my hands, daydreaming about a slow dance under blue lights and perhaps a swift caress under falling stars.
Max was a junior, and I was a freshman. Max had a car, and I had a bike. Max hung out with girls who were, in my opinion, straight-up mean. These girls like Max and hated me. I was too young to be with Max. I wasnt cool enough. I didnt scream and fight and smoke weed at high-school parties. A week after our breakup, I awoke late in the night to the shrieks of girls voices and the horns of several cars.
You slut! Max never like you. Stay away from guys from now on, he was just using you! Youre so-o-o-o stupid! I didnt move. I didnt even look out the window. I was afraid that theyd see me and keep yelling.
Come one guys, lets go, one girl shouted. And then they were gone.
I just lay there dumbfounded. I woke up early the next morning and surveyed the damage. Toilet paper wasnt that big of a deal. I had been toilet-papered before. But the chocolate syrup on the garage door wasnt pleasant. You kiss like a horse it said, and the stains lingered long after I tried to hose them down. The driveway was painted with half a dozen cruel phrases describing untrue details of my nonexistent sex life. I kept my mouth shut, though, and laughed it off. They were all lies, so what did it matter?
Everyone knew the next day at school.
You must be so embarrassed, she said.
I feel sorry for you, he said.
So what does a horse kiss like? He asked.
Did you really have sex with him? She asked.
Shut up, who cares, whatever, I said, And, no, I didnt have sex with him.
Max was one of the only boys that I had ever kissed, and I guess I wasnt a very good kisser. I bit his tongue once or twice, and he bled. at the time, he was sweet about it.
Its cool, he said, wiping the blood from his lip. You can bite me all you want.
I guess when the game is over all bets are off, though.
The taunting didnt stop- it only got worse. A few weeks later the older girls had a list photocopied and circulated around school. Not only was my name associated with biting and horses, but now I was number one on the High-School Whore List.
Im not a whore, I sighed in the girls bathroom as I was washing my hands. The paper signs were taped everywhere. I tore them down.
All I did was kiss him. And I didnt even do it right. Im not a whore! I screamed as two dozen eyes stripping me of innocence. I was disgusting to them. I was disgusting to everybody. I was even starting to believe that I was all the things they said I was. Its funny how easy rumors are to believe, even if they are about you. I carried myself differently. I went to parties and kissed all the boys. I wanted them to tell me that I wasnt a sloppy kisser, that I wasnt a horse, and that I wasnt a bad person. No one ever cleared my name though. Instead, they all tried unsuccessfully to bring me home with them. After all, I was the Easiest and Cheapest Date in School.
I was never able to fulfill my prom fantasy, let alone wear my gown or get my hair done. It was hard enough staying home the night of the prom, barefoot on the couch between my parents watching I love Lucy.
The dress was still hanging in my closet the night the phone rang, my beautiful never-been-worn shoes still neatly in their paper box. I answered the phone.
Neighhhh, they said.
Huh? I couldnt believe it was still going on.
Neighhhh, they repeated.
Whoever it was hung up. Was Max behind all o this? What had I done to be treated this way? Did I miss something? Would it ever end? I couldnt take it any longer. This wasnt going to stop until I did something about it. I needed to find Max and talk to him. I needed to do something.
I found him at his locker. I had purposely avoided that hallway for the past couple of months. I didnt want to see him. But today was different. I was tired of avoiding confrontation. I wanted my life back.
He ignored me at first, and I grimaced.
I have to- he began.
I interrupted. So why? What did I ever do to you? You broke up with me. You spread rumors about me. I dont understand. What did I do to you?
-get to class, he finished.
Why Max? I asked.
Listen, I dont know what youre talking about, and even if I did, its not my problem. He didnt care. He didnt want to.
I dont know what I expected; maybe and apology or an explanation. I guess I hoped that he would take it back. I wanted him to tell me that he was sorry and that he would undo the rumors and set me free. I wanted him to tell me that, after all was said and done, I really didnt kiss like a horse. He didnt say a thing.
It turned out that I didnt need and explanation after all. His silence spoke words that he could never muster. Max was afraid. He couldnt be with me. He wasnt supposed to. His friends hadnt approved and so he got rid of me, even though I know he didnt want to. He had to convince himself that I was a monster or the worse kisser in the whole school. He had to convince himself that he didnt like me anymore, and for that reason, I felt sorry. I felt sorry for him and for all the pathetic souls who believed him. I felt sorry for the girls who wasted their baby-sitting money on toilet paper and their weekends fabricating degrading lists. I felt sorry for them all. And for the first time in months, I felt relieved. I knew who I was, and the rest didnt matter.
Max was just some guy-some guy who needed to grow up. And I refused to be just some girl. So what if I was a lousy kisser? It took me years before I was steady on my Rollerblades. And so what if the older girls didnt like me? It wouldnt be long before I myself was an Older Girl. And so what if there were rumors? They werent true. I held my head high, defending my morality and reputation with a string of confidence. I wasnt the only one.
Lies and rumors, hate and envy fly like bullets every day in high school. I got hit. Like many unfortunately do, and I was ready to get back out there, shielding myself with the truth and a force field of confidence I forgot I had.
About a week later, a boy in school stopped me in the halls and asked, So is it true that you kiss like a horse?
I smiled. You know what, Ive never kissed a horse before, have you? He shook his head, embarrassed, as I turned around and walked away. -Rebecca Woolf