First Kisses

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First Kisses

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by Kate

It’s my absolute pleasure to be judging the First Kiss contest for the Romance Writers of Australia this year. I’ve written before about the importance and romance of that first kiss, but I thought we’d get a little personal this time.

Let’s talk ours.

In Canada, where I grew up, they have this great program called SEVEC. Essentially, it’s an intra-country exchange program. Canada is, after all, a big place, culturally and linguistically diverse. SEVEC takes young teenagers (12-16, I think) and pairs them up with a similarly aged teen in another province. Each plays host for a pre-agreed time, then each gets to play tourist. Technically, the program is open to all provinces, but the bulk of exchanges take place between an English speaking province and French speaking Quebec.

Mine did.

At the tender age of 13 and 1 day, I set off with my parents to meet my SEVEC ‘twin’, Melanie, who hailed from the North-West Quebec city of Rouyn-Noranda. I was a country girl, fresh off the farm. Melanie lived in the middle of the city. I couldn’t get off the farm without parental help. Melanie skipped off her front step onto a city bus, or around the corner to her friends’ houses. The freedom, it was heady.

The first week was a blur of not speaking English and barely understanding anything that was said to me. The first weekend – that was the weekend of summer camp.

All of Melanie’s friends, her little sister, and I packed off into the wilds* with about 40 other kids.

*where wilds has a value of a nearby campsite with a lake

There, late one night after campfire songs and s’mores, I played my very first game of spin the bottle. He was Stefan, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed local, with wavy hair and a crinkly grin. He was 18 months older, and had the casual confidence that seems ubiquitous in French  men. I’d been smitten from the beginning. Imagine my petrified delight when his bottle landed firmly pointed at me.

I had no experience whatsoever, so the approach was awkward. I don’t think I breathed from the minute the bottle stopped until the whole thing was over. I flushed bright red; heat rushed over my whole body. He came over to my side of the circle. There was a lot of left-right-left-right before he finally landed. No nose bump, but a bit of a mis-match in lips position.

It was perfect.

Sadly, however, Stefan and I were not meant to be. Probably because he had a huge crush on another Anglophone in our little group – Katherine who was visiting her grandmother for the summer. I was heartbroken when I caught them kissing (without any apparent lip-mis-match issues) on the swing set.

The magic, however, of those three seconds, have been unforgettable.

Alright – I’ve shared. It’s your turn. Go on – tell us your story!

And best of luck to the 2013 First Kiss Finalists. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for me.

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