First Kiss

by Agnes Enkhtamir

We linked eyes across a crowd of gyrating teens and music so loud your bones vibrated. I didn’t want to meet the love of my life at a mediocre house party in a suburb of Las Vegas, but his eyes made the dusty, dreamy scene stumble into focus. It was like a fairytale. He was obscenely attractive, and we were wearing the same shade of blue.

He smiles at me, and I smile back.

I break eye contact quickly though because I feel a pain in my upper chest – maybe it’s angina – but more likely it is a byproduct of our eyes meeting. I start to get annoyed. Who does this boy think he is, giving me heartburn?

I forgive him instantly when I see that he’s starting to slink around his friends to get closer to me. The organs in my upper chest spin circles.

“HEY!” he has to scream to be heard above the music, but it’s not really a scream. It’s low and intimate and I suddenly need to pee.

I brush away the hair sticking to my painted lips and assault him with the most dazzling smile I own. “HI!” Smiling is shown to increase perceived attractiveness, according to both Cosmo and a 1999 study published by Evolution and Human Behavior.

Now that I’ve performed all the ritual tasks required of two people who meet, I have to tell him my name.  I hesitate.

“DULGUUN!” I yell.

The boy tilts his head slightly to the right and furrows his beautiful brow before yelling “I’M SORRY, WHAT?” over the music.

We’re now almost chest-to-chest. Being around him is sort of intoxicating in a way I’m not so sure I like. He has blonde hair and blue eyes and looks like an All American BoyTM. I don’t know what to say.

I falter before deciding. “MY NAME IS AGNES!”

I smile through the indecision. He’s talking about the party, and he’s leaning in.

The music is loud enough to destroy away any lingering unheard pieces of my name. Dulguun is a clumsy word in English. It’s too round and hard for white tongues to pronounce. Shouting Agnes is easier sometimes.

“WHAT’S YOUR NAME?” I figure I have to call him something less dramatic that The Boy in my diary later.

The Boy says something just as the beat drops in the background. I missed his name. David? Daniel?

David/Daniel leans in. I can smell his woodsy cologne mixed with sweat and alcohol.“SO DO YOU LIKE LACROSSE?” he shouts. He smiles.

What a non sequitur. I’m only confused for a second, though; talking to attractive boys who never had to learn how to talk to girls is an art form I have down pat. Well, it’s not an art form as much as it is agreeing and giggling.

“LOVE IT!” I don’t. “DO YOU PLAY?” He places his hand on my back. The heat from his hand radiates into me. His cheeks are rosy with liquor, but his eyes are warm and clear, ready to laugh: an easy crowd to please.

“YEAH!” David/Daniel smiles down at me, moves both hands to my hips, and pulls me closer than would be allowed at PG-13 movie. “LET’S GO OUTSIDE! WHERE IT’S QUIETER!”

We fight our way through the bodies and out the door to a swing set nearby. The cool air is instantly sobering and soft on my skin. I am excited to be on the swings and in the air. They were my favorite when I was younger. If you worked really, really hard, and put enough effort to go the highest the swing would allow, at the very top you would float. Nothing could touch you.

He plants himself right in front of my swing. He pulls me closer to him. The stars never really shine in the city like they do in books and songs, but they seem a little brighter tonight. Maybe it’s because they’re quietly enthusiastic about me meeting the love of my life, David/Daniel. He smiles sleepily a couple of inches away from my face.

I can feel my adrenal glands releasing a whole slew of chemicals in preparation. I am sure he is going to kiss me. I have never kissed anyone before. I am sure I would be terrible at it.

I also don’t know if I want another person’s tongue in my mouth. My mouth has just enough tongues in it already; another would just be crowded and maybe my tongue would not appreciate another tongue in it’s home. My hands start sweating.

He looks at me for what feels like a good thirty seconds before he drops his eyes to ground. “You know what would look great?”

“No…” Does he not want to kiss me anymore? Wow all that drama for absolutely nothing. At least I have more time now to research smooching techniques in preparation for the next time he pulls me closer to him.

Which is now. He is coming closer to me right now. Shit. Because of my spotty work ethic, I’m going to ruin our first beautiful moonlit kiss with too much saliva and too little tongue. “What would look great?”

“Your tiny Asian hands wrapped around my big dick.”

I can feel the blood draining from my face, my heart rate rises, my mouth is suddenly dry. He’s not looking at me the way he’s supposed to. 

Instead, David/Daniel is looking at me the way spoiled boys accustomed to getting everything they want look at new toys. I don’t know what to do. I do not want to be a new toy.

I know what I am supposed to do. I am supposed to push David/Daniel out of the way. I am supposed to tell him that he is taking part in fetishizing an entire ethnicity. I am supposed to tell him that I am not a slanted eyed blow up doll. I am supposed to do a lot of things.

I know how I should’ve looked, what I should’ve said, what I should’ve done.

He smiles and takes my hand in his – such an innocent thing to do. He guides my hand to his crotch. He tells me, in the same low voice, “Suck it, too.”

I came home forty minutes later with salty cheeks and sticky hands, confused and angry and sad… but also smug, a little happy. David/Daniel chose to objectify me. He chose to make a move on me.

That must mean I meet some standard. He didn’t like me the way I wanted him to, but he still wanted Agnes. Kind of.

“Dulguun.”

I love the way my mom says my name. Her voice carries a playful lilt to it, even when she’s angry. She’ll tell me that my name conveys the way water barrels into stone on a beach, but how the water wins. I don’t understand this.

“Dulguun!” I can make peace with the way my teachers used to say my name. It was hard for them, but they jumped through firey hoops of the hard “d” and the subtle double u’s. They tried.

I’m not sure if they were correct, but my teachers tried. I’m actually not sure how to say my name in English. I write it on forms and wince when I hear “dull goon.” 

Names are important. They’re kind of what anchor you to the world. Your parents choose it, but after a certain age, you can make the decisions.

I spot him by the bar. This one has bushy eyebrows and stubble, and he’s laughing with his friends. He’s saying something, excited and impatient for the words to come out, and once they do, the group starts laughing.

I smile at him, and he smiles back.