Whenever Jeff McNeil walked down the street there was a sense of purpose in his stride. I remember being fascinated watching his long golden hair sway to and fro as his head bobbed up and down with his pimp like walk.
Jeff and his family lived in a house directly across from us on Encinal Avenue and I had a terrific crush on him for as long as I can recall. He was attractive with rugged features and the other girls took notice because he was what we considered to be 'a fox'.
The year was 1975, I'd just entered 9th grade, was beginning to blossom into a young woman and Jeff (a sophomore) began to pay more attention to me. Although I cannot exactly pinpoint a specific time if or when he asked if I'd go steady but we did begin to spend more time together and it was clear he liked me. For instance Jeff would see me sitting on our front porch and would head over to hang out, he'd walk me home from school, that kind of thing, just being kids.
Early one Saturday evening as the sun was setting, why he was on my porch in the first place is not important, however, what is stuck in my memory is the time that came for us to say goodnight. Jeff smoothly leaned toward me, put his hand gently under my chin and drew me closer. A woodsy hint of too much Brut Cologne clung to his clothing. Chills were coursing through my blood as he excited me in a way I'd never sensed before. I closed my eyes expecting just a kiss and instead there was a big wet tongue tasting of salt pushing between my lips. My eyes flew open and my lips refused to reply because they spontaneously sealed shut of their own accord. A confused Jeff examined my knit eyebrows and disgusted face questioningly. He asked me if I'd ever been French kissed, to which I'd replied, "No, what's a French kiss?" Jeff said goodbye and walked home.
On Monday he had a new and more experienced girlfriend; my best friend. At first I was stunned and not without a little envy, but then…it dawned on me that I wanted no part of him exploring my mouth with his icky tongue in the first place. After all it was only my first kiss.