“Two Kisses” by Tadeu Bijos

I was five years old when I first kissed a girl. Her name was Juliana and it happened during my kindergarten recess, on the sand playground. Juliana was a redhead and had freckles, which was extremely rare for Brazil and made me very attracted to her.

It was me, Juliana, my friend Rafael and his girl at the time, Rafaela. They were a thing because their names were very similar, and they were very handsome children. Although we had flirted before, Juliana and I were never a thing. We were brought into this moment by chance and occasion.

Rafael was bragging that he had kissed Rafaela many times. I told him I had kissed several times before as well. He said that we should then kiss our girls at the same time, because that would mean we weren’t liars. I agreed, the girls agreed, so we went to the more private patch of sand, the one behind the seesaw, near the stone wall, and after a cursory count-down, got to business.

I kissed Juliana, a firm and extended press on the lips for two or three seconds, and as soon as I let go and heard the loud smack in my head, I licked my lips with and wiped them off with the front of my hand, which had sand in it. It was an uncomfortable feeling on my face. I did not like it at all.

Rafael said I was a liar, because real kissers don’t wipe off with your hand. I told him the wipe was an accident and he said he would only believe me if I kissed Juliana again and didn’t wipe my lips. I told him I’d only do it if he kissed Rafaela again, which seemed fair to him. So we did, and immediately after proceeded to look at each other for a few, long seconds, with our puckered lips holding the firmness and wetness of those meek, timid kisses, trying to prove something about something. Eventually, Rafael spoke up. “Alright, I believe you.” and he dashed off to the tire swing-set, to swing for the remainder of recess.

My lips felt wet and vulnerable. When no one was looking, I rubbed my sandy finger on the bottom of my lips and went back to the regular affair of getting my nice clothes dirty with gravel and sand. Throughout it all, the girls were giggling and excited and being far less fussy about it all than we were. Juliana grew up to be an extremely warm and kind lesbian. I haven’t talked to her in what must be almost a decade now.   


At night, sometimes Los Angeles tricks you into thinking it actually is a romantic place. Not romantic in its capacity to foster, spur and sober dreams – but actually romantic, in the way it physically feels and looks. There is something about the dry, wind-chill that can feel very lean and invigorating when you look at someone that you want to make out with. It’s a rare occurrence, but sometimes Los Angeles feels appropriate for first kisses.

The last time I kissed a girl, I was thinking a lot about the architect Frank Gehry and his process. It might be worthwhile for the reader to Google his buildings, and then to Google his sketches, and maybe think about them as they read this following section.

I was mostly thinking about how weird and exciting it is when a person sees something in their heads, thinks up something, and decide they want to bring it to life, or even feel that they need to bring it to life, and then, how they go ahead and do it. On top of that, I was also thinking about how weird and hard it is to be okay with the things you lose on the way from thought to product, or even, how aware you can be of the things you’ll lose, and even if maybe being aware is a good or bad thing, if it’s heart-breaking or encouraging.

Applying all of this to Frank Gehry is particularly mystifying and daunting because the dude seems to think in squiggles and ends up with buildings, so maybe it’s a different scale or thought process for him. 

I am with this girl I met online at this Frank Gehry exhibit and I am thinking about all these things when she tells me “Could you possibly imagine like, Frank Gehry in love?” and I think about that for a moment and say “Or, like, Frank Gehry in therapy? or Frank Gehry fucking?” and she kind of laughs and says that there was no need for me to take things there, and I suppose she was right, but when was the last time you ever did something because it was strictly needed?

The evening was very pleasant, but I was thinking more about Gehry than I was about her and that really bummed me out, even though Frank Gehry is a very interesting thinker and architect. We had dinner and wine and I walked her back to her car, and then I noticed Los Angeles, and felt like kissing her, so I did.

It was surprisingly nice, and warm, and loving and receptive even, and she kissed me back in interesting ways and I wasn’t really thinking about Frank Gehry anymore and completely forgot I had been thinking about him all afternoon. I didn’t want to leave, but we had places to go, so we left, a little bit suspicious of each other. We texted a little bit after, but it seems unlikely we’ll meet up again.
It is strange, and funny, why when we sit down to remember and write about things other things come up, and we choose to write about those instead, which eventually turn out to be the thing you were wanting to write about in the first place. If you haven’t yet, Google the sketches, it’s really good stuff.

Tadeu Bijos generally doesn’t kiss and tweet, despite the evidence otherwise. Follow him @jtbijos.

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