AFTERMATH TO A KISS.
All through afternoon lessons and on the school bus home, Elaine can't get the thought of the boy called John, kissing her on the lips, out of her mind, it echoes there like a call along a dark tunnel. She stares out of the bus window, her younger sister beside her, the other kids talking, laughing and gossiping, the radio on the bus blasting out some Billy Fury song. She sits, her hands thrust between her thighs, her body hunched, her toes pushing against the tops of her shoes. The kiss on her lips feels as if it is still there; an impression, a soft touch, barely felt, but still she imagines it is there, invisible, unseen, but as if his lips were ghostly, still pressing, still there. She takes a hand from between her thighs and gently rubs her fingers over her lips, feeling the skin, sensing, finger tips and lip skin, not wanting to rub the echo of his kiss away. She puts her hand back between her thighs, her eyes searching the passing scenery, trees, fields, hedgerows, sky, birds in flight. Had it been for real the kiss? Had he meant it? She breathes in deeply, feels the pressure of her heartbeat, the thump thump of that lunchtime kiss has subsided, eased off. She brings to mind his words, his gestures; tries to pin down each aspect of him, his eyes, his smile, the lips. She hadn't expected a kiss, not even dreamed of such. He never said he was going to kiss her, he just did, there and then, on the lips , there as they stood by the fence on the school sports field, that lunch time, during recess. After he had gone off, once the school bell had rung, he watched him go, his half run, half walk across the field, to lessons. She stood there gazing at his departure, other pupils making there way back to school across the field, in groups or singly, talking, laughing, chattering amongst themselves. She gazed to see if any had seen the kiss; none looked her way, none stared, smirked or even seemed to know. She stood there as if frozen to the spot, her legs refusing to move, her feet seemingly rooted to the grass. She had felt her heart to see if was still there, after the hard beating it had preformed as it had, when they were together and his kiss came. Her body had accepted and reacted to the kiss, her heart, her skin, her nerves, but her mind was in turmoil, undone, as if someone had opened a door into another world, another sphere of experience. She even thought she'd leaked or wet herself; her body seemed as if it belonged to another, some adventurous other, some alien other. Once she had walked off the field, following the last few stragglers, she went to the girls' toilet, and sat there, hugging herself, gazing at the door, and the floor, at her shoes. She closed her eyes, rerunning the kissing scene, the whole episode. She sat there in the afternoon silence. She'd not leaked, not been undone. Now sitting on the school bus, peering at the passing scene, her mind reruns the scene again, the whole film of it, stuck in her mind, running over and over. She pushes her hands deeper between her thighs, her body hunched, as if she were trying to appear not there, so that others might not realize she was there. She knew the boy John was on the bus, she'd seen him sitting there on the other side of the aisle, when she boarded and walked down the aisle between seats earlier. She avoided looking at him, as if he hadn't been there, although she caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of her eye, the quiff of hair, hazel eyes, his head averted looking away, out of the window. If she looked over, she knew she would see the back of his hair over the seat, but she doesn't look,she stares out at the passing scenery. Had he meant to kiss her? Was it deliberate? Did he regret it now? She tries to push the voice in her head away, avoid the questions, settle back in the seat, focus on the trees, or fields, count sheep, cows. She runs her tongue over her lips slowly, tracing with the tip of her tongue where he had been, where his lips had so gently pressed. Was there saliva there?could she taste that aspect of him? Maybe she can, maybe she has that part of him still, there on her lips, on her tongue's tip. She gently, slowly, returns her tongue back inside her mouth, lets the tongue's tip bury itself against her cheek, across the roof of her mouth, over the back of her lower teeth. Is part of him there inside me now? she wonders. That tiny part of him, wet, small, almost invisible, piece of him, there inside her? I'm a frump, she says to herself inside her head, a right frump, why would he want to kiss me? Must have been a joke or put up thing? She tells herself, closing her eyes again, imagining him telling others and saying, Oh, you should have seen her when I kissed her lips. Oh, what a laugh, bet she nigh on wet herself, and she imagined others laughing, guffawing loudly. She pushes her hands harder between her thighs, as if she was afraid she might leak or wet or flood. Had he meant to kiss? Was it for real? Had it been some huge, cruel, joke? She bites her lower lip. Runs her tongue over the lips' surface. She opens her eyes and stares around her. None looks at her, none gazes in her direction, smirking. Her sister is reading some romance book, her eyes following the words, the other kids pay her no mind, as if she did not exist, was not there. Whom to tell about the kiss? Whom to trust? Her sister would take her wrist, pretend to take her pulse and say, call a doctor Elaine's unwell. No, not her, she'd be cruel, say hurtful things. Her mother? What would she say? Her mother never even warned her about her first bleed, and afterwards, when she told her mother about the bleed in the girls' toilet and what the nurse had said about menstruation, her mother had said she didn't think her little girl would have grown so. An aunt had said, beware of boys, Elaine, they will try to get into your panties; they are only after one thing. What thing, her aunt hadn't said, hadn't revealed. No, she'd not tell her mother, not say anything about it. What about her dad? No, he'd joke about it, say who would want to kiss his frump hen? And laugh. No, she'll tell no one, she'll keep it to herself. The bus moves on through the country lanes, the afternoon sun weakens, she senses the kiss still, her lips seem on fire, she licks them, her tongue capturing that aspect of him again, bring him into her being, just she will have him, none will know, none is seeing.