I saw one of my friend’s post about one of her first kisses ever, and how a certain song was playing at the time – which made her remember when she heard it. When I read her post, it made me think about my own first kiss it made me realize I don’t really think I’ve thought about it in years.

My girlfriend and I hadn’t been dating for long, having met on Earth Day in the spring, just a couple months previous. Now that it was summer, everything was in transition. I was moving soon. She was starting a new job. We had both just graduated the day before and spent a long night celebrating with friends in the Old Port here in Portland, Maine. She’d driven back with me to Casco (where I lived at the time), and we’d talked of all our future plans and spoke, already nostalgic, about our college adventures as the summer night carried sweet smells in through the open windows. In the morning, I’d wake to find her leaning on one elbow, smiling down at me, the sun dappling the right side of her face, her dark hair hanging down over her left cheek. The white curtain gently waving behind her with the aid of the warm morning breeze.

“What?” I asked, rubbing my eyes and grinning.

Then, she just went for it.

I felt awkward at the time, almost ashamed in a way, as if me not kissing someone before then was an affront to normal people everywhere who’d had relationships since their teen years. Had I known then what I know now, I would’ve felt a little better about it.

My relationship with her didn’t last an especially long time. It was a mostly long-distance thing. I still lived in Maine, but she had a life in Massachusetts. As far as first kisses go, mine could have been worse. Despite the fact that I don’t really think about this moment all that much, these “firsts” are important. They denote a step we take in our lives. A bookmark, if you will. Right up there with your first real job, first graduation, first major failure. It all comprises the story of you, where you came from, even where you’re headed.

So, ruminate on that first kiss. Before life sort of sterilizes what your idea of love and of human relationships actually are, the first kiss is a time when I think most of us are at the height of our ideal fantasies about what those things should be. Perhaps some of us can keep that feeling alive, and most of us get glimpses of it, regardless – but that time….that time is a snapshot of innocence and ideals.

Tuck it away. Look back to it once in a while. Don’t be ashamed.