“Kissing Coco” by Liz Queeney

It was March. I’d just turned twelve
two weeks before, so I was finally
old enough to think about having
sex with somebody outside
my family. Somebody not male,
and not too much older. Somebody
like Coco from Nasella Park.
She was everything I wanted
to be (smart & strong & very tough).
She smoked Lucky Strike nonfilters
and could spit as far as any guy.
Already thirteen, so I told her I was
too, pressing my biceps tight
against my sides, trying to make
my breasts appear bigger. Hers were
stretching out her too-tight sweater
(the sweater soft and blue
like her eyes). Catching me staring,
she boldly stared back. She grinned,
and then she winked at me.
I was afraid maybe she was
teasing me, afraid maybe she wasn’t.
My heart swelled up till it almost
hurt. In the past, wanting touch
had only brought pain, but I knew that
I could trust someone who purred
with stray cats. Late at night,
on the swing set in Nasella Park,
she opened up two Michelobs,
and asked, “Have you ever
gotten drunk?” “Of course! A lot
of times,” I lied. I wanted her
to think I was cool. She was
so hot. My mouth was dry.
I sucked down the beer, then
following her lead, I threw the empty
into the bushes. My mouth still dry,
I pulled a Certs from the pocket
of my Levi’s, then popped
it into my mouth with relief.
Coco asked, “Ya got any more?” then
seemed all disappointed to hear it was
my last. Without thinking, I offered
her the one in my mouth. “Sure,”
she said as she jumped off the swing.
Instantly her hands were on mine,
the chains of the swing digging into
my palms. I was sweating,
though the night air was crisp.
My heat beat so wild
I could hardly hear.
Coco commanded, “Give it up,”
opening her mouth before mine.
The swing no longer moving, still
everything was swirling
as our lips caressed and our tongues shared
the Certs and our first kiss.

Source: Queeney, Liz 1996, ‘Kissing Coco’, in L Elder (ed.), Early Embraces, Alyson publications.