When She Interrupted Thoughts of Him

For Playboy's ongoing Pride series, Orion Carloto presents a new work

It all started in the closet. No pun intended.
It was my first time, she was my first time.

We all sat in a circle passing my cellphone around, eyes wide open, mouths giggling at the screen in front of us. The boy I was completely infatuated with was finally giving me the attention I’ve always dreamt of. It was him that infested my thoughts throughout every waking moment in my days. He told me he wanted to be my first kiss. My first real kiss. I was as pure and innocent as a virgin from down south could be, everyone in my grade knew it. The idea of uneducated intimacy terrified me, but the thought of his lips touching mine brought the brightest of stars to my head. It only hit me, then at that very weekend sleepover, that all of my flirty texts were going to get me absolutely no where. I didn't know how to kiss with an open mouth. Which way do I turn my head? In what direction do I move my tongue? Is lip biting a real thing or is that just something that happens in films?

That’s when her eyes caught mine.
They’ve been chasing me all night.
She told me not to worry, that she could teach me so I could appear to be a pro when it comes to being face to face with him. At no point did I even try refuse this offer. As everyone began to fall fast asleep to the sounds of Moulin Rouge playing through the TV speakers in the background, is when she slowing began inching for my hand. The slight graze of her fingertips slithering its way across my palm was enough to keep me paralyzed, right there, on the floor of that crowded bedroom. We snuck out from under our covers, her face gleaming with mischief—I followed her to the closet. You could only imagine how fast my heart was pacing at this very moment. From the light bouncing off of the television screen when she opened the closet door, I noticed a poster hanging on the inside of Zac Efron (he was my celebrity dream crush for as long as I could remember), my face caught a quick grin as I tiptoed inside. Closing the door, so not a sliver of light could leak through, she pulled me to the back and ordered me to close my eyes. What a foolish command to ask of me,I couldn’t see a damn thing anyway. 

It was when I felt the folds of her mouth connect to mine.
Not a single inch of my being felt an ounce of guilt like I imagined it would. 

That kiss tasted like the Fourth of July. Like firecracker popsicles melting down the sides of your wrists. Like the sun beaming across your cheeks all afternoon. Like squeezing fresh lemons into an ice cold glass of lemonade.It was like watching a firework show from the sea shore, toes wiggling with excitement in the sand.

That kiss felt like freedom. 

She tasted like freedom. 

Orion Carloto's book of poetry, Flux, is available now.

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