20 November 2012


Sunday, December 3, 1995 1:36 a.m.

I drink at Jeff's last night after band practice for Aster. We've all had a few and A_____ says she's taking Tony home, asks me to ride with them. I accept, because I'm a bit bored and there is always the prospect that A_____ has weed. She does. The three of us enjoy a joint, each other's company, and the chilly night drive to Tony's place.  She parks and they get out for a lengthy goodbye kiss in his driveway.  Spotlighted by the car's headlights, I can see steam curling up from their nostrils, which causes me to look away. When they break apart, I get out of the car to wish Tony goodnight and move to the front seat for the ride back to my place. I start to hug him and say goodbye, but only get a couple of words out before Tony's mouth is on mine in a full-on kiss that lasts a couple of minutes. A_____ is already back in the car and, although I assume the headlights are now on us and it's our warm breath dancing out of our nostrils, I am not conscious of any of this. There is only my friend, Tony.

It's bold and unexpected, but this isn't a kiss of seduction or even curiosity. It's not a kiss that's intended to lead anywhere else. It isn't a delirious, drug-induced, out-of-your-mind kiss. Though it isn't close-mouthed, there are no exploring tongues or inadvertent clanking of teeth. It's not particularly wet or aggressive. There are no passionate grunts and it is not accompanied by roaming hands. It's something spontaneous and beautiful and reflective of his unique, loving nature. It's not something friends, even close ones, do; however, now I am not so sure that I understand why friends don't. It's an act of happiness and presence without self-consciousness.

"Your breath tastes like smoke," he laughs as he pulls away and walks to the porch.

"You kiss pretty good. For a drummer," is my retort.