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I never meant to kiss Emma. I never meant to, but I did. There are a lot of things I never meant to do, but did anyway. This was the only time I wanted to repeat one of them.


On the fateful day that I first kissed Emma, it started out as a normal day. Mr. Hood’s terrier barked at me. I barked back at it. I biked to school, arriving a minute after the first bell. I rushed to my classroom, stuffing my backpack in my locker hastily, though somehow arriving before half of my class. I sat in the third seat from the back, in the leftmost row.


The second bell rung as I arranged my pencils next to my ruler, lining them up along the one inch mark. Class had officially begun.


“Would anyone like to explain how we know that the square root of two is not rational? You’ve had all of winter break to work on it, so I expect a fully-fledged proof.” Mr. Lintax said.

I raised my hand confidently. I had gotten a reputation as a math geek, and as such most people, including the Mr. Lintax, were expecting something good.

“Yes, Mrs. Apson?” Mr. Lintax gestured for me to come up to the board. I did so, loosely holding my notes in my hand. He handed me a piece of chalk, and I accepted it.


“Why, Mrs. Apson, are you writing that?”asked Mr. Lintax.

“Erm, because, because it’s a proof by contradiction and we start by assuming the opposite of what we are trying to prove and show that it’s impossible?...” my voice wavered, and I trailed off.

“Why are you writing in simplified terms?”

“Because it helps me focus on the math?...”

The rest of math quickly passes in a blur, and I grabbed my stuff as it finished.


“Hey, Audrey, I really liked your proof. It was very comprehensive.”Emma said after we left the class, “Would you mind teaching me a bit about math at lunch?”she blushed, shaking her head, “Of course you wouldn’t want to.”

“Emma, I’d love to teach you about math.” I replied.

“What- what got you into math? You’ve just got a reputation as, well, a math person, so I wanted to know why.”

“I don’t know. I guess I just have always loved numbers.”

“Wow. I thought that only was said in, like, cheesy 80s movies or something.”she laughed.

“Maybe I’m just an 80s movies person.”I offered.


“Audrey and Emma, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” Dennis Okalvan and his gang chanted, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage!”

“Oh, back off!” I yelled hotly, “Just because I’m helping her with math doesn’t mean we’re in love!”

Dennis Okalvan was the classical storybook example of a school bully. Stupid, big, athletic, rich, immature, got a gang of cronies. As the storybook bullies go, he also liked to mock those smaller than him, though not very adeptly.

“You just don’t want to kiss her, and get all of her ugly bookworm germs!”

“I wouldn’t mind kissing her, I just don’t love her!” I shouted back.

“Kiss her then, I dare you. ‘Less you’re scared!”

“Fine then!”

“Do it!” Dennis screamed back.

“Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss!”an army of kids picked up the cry.


I leaned toward her, gasping for breath. She caught my eye and nodded subtly. Everything seemed to speed up but me. She smelled faintly of books, and lemon. Her brown eyes sparkled dimly. It felt like I was underwater, crushed by pressure. All sound faded to a dull murmur. My lips suddenly felt dry, and I licked them. I suddenly could taste the strawberries I had for breakfast. A shiver ran down my spine. My eye twitched.


Her mouth meet mine, and I tasted her subtle lip gloss, a faint cinnamon. The smell was intensified, and I breathed it in deeply, relishing her scent. Her lips were smooth, unnaturally so.  Sparks flew between us. I connected my mouth with hers. We were briefly connected, as though we were meant to be.


We pulled apart, and everything spun back to normal; back to plain, boring, normal.


“I don’t mind kissing you.” I whispered to her.


The crowd erupted into laughter, “Look, the two nerds kissed. I knew they were meant to be! A match made in heaven!”


I didn’t mind their mocking. I grabbed Emma’s hand, and we pivoted in tandem towards English class. We each went to our seats.


“Would anyone like to explain what the Oxford comma is?”Mr. Handers asked, “We’ve given you a lot of time over winter break to think about it.”


Emma raised her hand. Mr. Handers called on her.

Emma walked elegantly to the front of the room. “The Oxford comma originated in-” she began.

English class was a blur, as all I could think about was the wonderful kiss I had had.


“Emma, would you mind telling me more about the Oxford comma at lunch?”I asked Emma.

“Of course I’ll help you at lunch.”

We erupted into giggles.

“I know another thing we could learn about at lunch.” I suggested slyly.

“Why wait till lunch?”

“We have Physical Education.”


Nobody liked Physical Education. Physical Education’s budget was nonexistent, and, as such, we just ran laps around the soccer field. The coach was underpaid, grumpy, and spiteful, devoting their time to yelling at kids falling behind. It was a run-till-you-drop situation, with everyone leaving exhausted, and cursing the day someone first ran. It united everyone with the common goal of stopping the running, and many petitions had been started, but all failed for various reasons.

“We could start a new petition.”I remarked.

“We could. Maybe demonstrate alternate ways?”

“Tag. You can always play tag.”

“Relay races.”


We tossed ideas back and forth, but we weren’t really focused. Both of us were just counting the minutes to lunch, counting the minutes to another kiss.


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