There is a beast that likes to snack on my brain. He never takes very big bites - they are just tiny little nibbles, leaving little crumbs of thoughts scattered across the arm of his couch or caught between the folds of his sheets. He has yet to take a mouthful of hippocampus or frontal lobe or anything else with disastrous implications. No, the insidious beast steals only the tiniest memories to pinch from, leaving gaps in my memory and sticky fingerprints around the edges.
Recently this has been bothering me. I think back to moments and there are blanks where I don't want them. Stories I need help filling in. I'm not yet old enough to be losing my memories, and it's not that they've slowly faded away. These memories have been gone almost from the moment they happened. The beast intercepted them and pulled them fresh from the oven of my experiences, unable to resist their siren song. I imagine my memories smell to him the way my father's lasagna smells to me - like the promise of fullness, an imagined weight in my stomach that I know I don't need to wait much longer for.
An hour or two after the first kiss, already comfortable
Lately the memory I miss the most, if you can miss something that you never really had, is my first kiss with my Welsh farm boy. I remember all sorts of kisses with him - lazy morning kisses, frantic airport kisses, snuck kisses on the train while he wrote notes to himself and I was supposed to be reading my book. During our rare times together I pester him with kisses. Some days I think he's going to swat at me like a mosquito buzzing around his head at night, begging me to please just go away already so I can sleep. But that first kiss is gone for me. It never existed. Somehow I went from talking to the boy from the coffee shop, the boy who bought me a beer and sat down next to me and wouldn't let me get another beer until I also got his contact details while I laughed at the earnest way he labeled the paper "Amazing Welsh Boy" to being comfortable kissing this almost stranger who would become so much more to me than my own heart. But that moment - that switch from funny boy sitting next to me to the person whose arms could be my home - is gone.
I want to make him tell me the story over and over, like a child begging to know about the day they were born. What did you say? What did I do? How did you know it was okay to kiss me? Why did you want to kiss me, anyways? I looked awful. I make him tell me this story over and over again, because in some ways it is a birth story. It's our birth story, far more than those first few weeks with conversations lasting into the early hours of the morning, of days chained to my laptop so that I could keep talking for just a few more minutes ever could be. It's the story of the split second where things changed. But the beast took it. He gobbled it up, greedily licking his fingers, beer-and-love-drunk from the moment he stole from me.
There will be many more kisses, happy and sad, peaceful and frantic, and always, always hopeful. I'm not much of a romantic, but I wish I'd known to pay attention, to watch his eyes and his lips and the way my heart felt. Did it flutter? Did it pound? Did any part of me know what was coming, what the kiss would mean?
The beast wins this round, but consider this my warning shot. I know he's there now, and I won't take much more of this.