All That Existed Was Her Mouth, And That Strawberry Red Lipstick

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About Gint Aras

Gint Aras has two decades of experience teaching, over ten of them in a Chicago-area community college. He writes a weekly column, True Community, about young men and education. His writing has appeared in St. Petersburg Review (forthcoming, 2014), Antique Children, Criminal Class Review, Curbside Splendor, Dialogo, Šiaurės Atėnai and other publications. He's a photographer and the author of the cult novel, Finding the Moon in Sugar. Check out his website, Liquid Ink and follow Gint on Twitter @Gint_Aras.

Comments

  1. Gint you continue to be my favorite writer on this site. I find the things you write about to be thoughts/memories/feelings that are shared by many men.

    I too remember my first kiss as something that can compare to nothing else. Even losing my virginity was not as “electric” as that first kiss (probably because I wasn’t as nervous or worried I was going to get the girl pregnant or get an STD). 19 years old, sophomore in college, in my dorm room. The girl kissed me and it made my whole body feel good. It was the most pleasant, amazing sensation I’d ever felt in my body or brain. I don’t think I can even give the way I felt (physically and emotionally) a proper description. Obviously I’ve had more physical experiences with women since then, but there’s no memory like that first kiss.

  2. Gint Aras says:

    Thanks for the wonderful comment, Jimbo.

  3. Hey Gint, just stumbled upon this article and am glad I did. Best description I’ve read in a while. I still remember my first kiss. Sixteen years old, 1983; we saw “The Outsiders” and I can still remember what her mouth felt like and how her perfume smelled. Best to you my man.

  4. As beautifully written as this is, I can’t help but feel several contradicting emotions after reading it:

    1) sadness for someone who is so absorbed in their past that they recall a fleeting, trivial encounter every time they wash their face;

    2) disgust and grief for your wife, as she is mentioned as barely a footnote to the vivid and elaborate conjuring of Gemma’s memory; and -

    3) concern for the mental health of children everywhere who are involved in adult behaviors.

    Your wife deserves respect, and you deserve peace and growth away from the heady and distant past of a petty childhood make out session. I would feel shame for involving another person in my life if I were incapable of letting go of a memory, or felt that rush of nostalgia every time I washed my face – it feels disturbingly…voyeuristic, in an odd way.

    ( Remember the movie Titanic? Wasn’t it kind of crappy how Rose never told her husband about Jack? When she died and went to ‘heaven’, instead of dancing with the man she supposedly loved enough to marry, she dances with some guy that she never told her husband about and her husband was…where exactly? Standing at the bottom of the stairs in the crowd, trying to figure out who the heck his wife was dancing with, huh? )

    We live life as if it ends at adulthood, and anything new or “adult” that we experienced in childhood is somehow better or different than what we experience in adulthood – when really childhood has no use or place for adult things because we idealize, gloss-over and gild them with our child minds and place them in our memories like prettily-painted dead-weights that will slow and distract us from the here and ever present now, muting or disturbing our ability to grow into well-adjusted adults.

    I know this because I lived it – the constant recollection of childhood sexual escapades with my “first love” drove me to compare everything to those events, and left me angry, depressed and bitter and making terrible choices, until – through therapy and self-reflection – I learned to move on and let go of childish things that did not matter.

    Did those events make me who I am today? Perhaps. But they have no business living inside me when I am busy living a different life with someone who I love and will never betray, even in my own mind.

    Mental discipline seems to be something many of us lack or outright refuse to learn for the sake of fantasy and an inner-world that betrays who we are and what we claim to stand for far more than we could ever understand or explain.

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