The kiss was gentle and felt like yours. You were in the bar a few feet away, behind me, talking to an acquaintance. I felt safe and happy. You felt glad to have me present in your post-show late-night world that I usually miss. You knew I was content to be seated, head back and eyes closed, near the circle of fiddlers playing their unrelenting reel. The sound gained layers as eager kids pulled up noisy chairs with their instruments. In my mellow buzzed state of bliss, the first kiss landed. Perfectly placed in the fleshiest part of my left cheek. Your lips had body and softness and I felt your beard around the warm moistness of your mouth. I believed it was you and that we were in a happy peaceful flow together in that local gem of a bar filled with good-natured late-night revellers. As you sweetly planted the second kiss on my right side, I slowly parted my love-drunk eyelids to connect with your gaze. When I did, you, he, jumped, and my expression changed from euphoria to surprise and anger (who the fuck are you?), and he, young and agile, bounded away into the animated crowd like a deer. It was such a quick jolt from contented love to incredulity and self-defense . From the warmth of intimacy to the distress of invasion. He saw it in my face and fled.
I jerked upright and looked around. I craned my neck so you might notice me. You were busy making people laugh. I furtively glanced around the room for recognition and no one was with me and what had just happened to me. No one saw or noticed it. Of course not. No one knew that he was an invader. The violins and flutes continued their reel which reached a fever pitch fitting the pace of my heartbeat.
…a few minutes later…
I looked for him because I wanted to give him a piece of my mind. I wanted to tell him that he should ask a girl before kissing her. I wanted to teach him something. To be bigger than I felt.
I was angry that he stole my moment and disturbed me. I wondered whether he was mentally ill or delusionally romantic. Did he think that this kiss-theft would lead to our hand-in-hand departure into the night? Did he intend to steal and run or did he change his plan when he saw my look of horror?
I did not disturb you in your world of jokes and dark pints. I dashed home in the frigid night unaware that I needed you to hold me, and caress my hair and tell me that I am safe. Stiff and agitated in bed, I did not sleep until your return.
The deer-man tossed my evening a curveball. Had he asked me if he could kiss my cheeks I might have said yes. Maybe. Maybe not. I cannot know really. But had I said yes, I would have appreciated the kisses. I might have congratulated him on his warm and full-bodied technique. The kisses themselves were sweet. I thought they were yours.