“You kiss like a frog!”
For once Dlozi was grateful that she had to chop up onions for her mother’s stew. Tears streamed down her face as Lizwe’s horrible words crashed about in her mind. Stupid boy! She had put all her passion into that kiss.
Their first kiss.
Her first kiss.
It had taken her five weeks to let him kiss her. Five weeks. She didn’t want him thinking she sucked. This kiss had been in the works for the past five years. Since that first day she laid eyes on Lizwe at school, she had fantasized about him sweeping her off her feet and planting the perfect kiss on her lips. She had dreamed about how those lips would been on hers. His sweet lips. She’d gaze across the schoolyard, looking at his lips as he smiled, laughed talking to his friends. It had all been a dream until five weeks ago.
At netball practice, Lizwe came to her while she was bent over with her legs wide apart doing stretch exercises. He squatted behind her and said, “Ngwana, these are the nicest legs I’ve ever seen in a netball player.” She nearly fell over with embarrassment. For the next four Wednesdays, he always walked her back to the locker rooms, quietly, never saying anything. Just when she was getting comfortable with her silent hunk, he broke the silence.
“You know,” he started. “I’d like to be your boyfriend.”
Dlozi wanted to jump into the air! Doing somersaults across the schoolyard and air punching in excitement. She didn’t believe that she had heard him correctly.
“So?” he peered at her. “Do you want to be my girlfriend?”
Her heart started to pound against her chest and she was sure he could see it so she put her hands on her heart as if to stop it beating so hard. He put his hand over hers and said:
“If you already have a boyfriend…”
She shook her head so hard that it might have fallen off.
Lizwe smiled, crookedly. Cute crooked smile. He nodded. She nodded.
He turned and walked off.
Snapping out of her thoughts Dlozi looked up at her mother. “Daydreaming while amabhod ‘esha,” Her mother chastised her. “Are you ok?”
“Yes, ma,” she faked a smile .
“Well, my dear, pay attention to what you’re doing please. I don’t want you to ruin my stew…”
Dlozi didn’t hear the rest of her mother’s words as she slipped back into her thoughts. Every morning Lizwe would wait for her at the school gate, give her a big hug and they would walk hand in had. She was in dreamland until one afternoon after he had walked her home he leaned over to kiss her. She ducked as if something was about to hit her head.
“Babes, yini,” Lizwe asked looking amused. “You scared of my lips? Don’t worry izambuk keeps them very smooth, love.” He moved closer. She jumped back. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Not in front of my house,” she had to come up with something. “My mom is home and you don’t want to see her trip out. She’ll chase you down the street ngeshambok!”
“Oh, I understand – been there, done that. Crazy moms and crazy dads. S’cool, see tomorrow.”
As he walked away, Dlozi wondered if she should tell Lizwe that she had never kissed any boy before. And she didn’t know what to do… For the next few weeks she came up with different excuses why he couldn’t kiss her in front of the corner-house, at the school fields, behind the tuck-shop, at the school gates, on her street, on any street at all. So he gave up trying, while she figured out how to kiss from watching ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’!
Soon, school holidays started and Lizwe told her that he was going to the coast with his family. Dlozi realised that she’d have to kiss this boy so he did not forget her while at the beach. So after much practice in front of the TV, she was ready.
That morning, Dlozi had an extra spring in her step. She couldn’t wait for Lizwe to come meet her at the park. She had butterflies in her stomach.
“I know a spot that’s not too crowded, just behind the skaters’ spot.” Dlozi proposed.
“Sure?” Lizwe let her lead the way. They walked hand in hand to the park.
Behind the skating ramps, there was almost no one besides the two of them. They sat down and Lizwe took out an apple from his backpack and cut it in half with his Swiss pocketknife giving half to Dlozi.
“So, eintlik,” Lizwe began. “Do you know how to kiss at all?”
Dlozi almost choked on the apple, “How could you ask me that?”
“Ngizothini, no chick has ever given as many reasons not to kiss me as you have. I mean not ever!”
Dlozi didn’t want him probing further because she was a hopeless liar, so she just leaned over and softly kissed him on the lips. As she moved back, he grabbed her by the collar and pulled her toward him for a real kiss. She was in ecstasy. He slowly released her. Took a bite out of his apple. Chewed for a while and swallowed. Then he said it.
“You kiss like a frog!”
“What!?” Dlozi exclaimed.
“Chick, you ain’t ever kissed before, have you?” Lizwe seemed to be thrilled. “That’s why you had so many excuses.” He was laughing so hard that he had tears in his eyes. Dlozi just stared at him, jaw on the ground. Lizwe laughed and laughed. She turned away and left before he could see the tears in her eyes.
“Wait, I bet you learnt to kiss from watching TV.” Lizwe called after her, laughing. “Let me guess – ‘The Bold’, huh?”
She ran home never to forget the humiliation. She could still hear him laughing.