30) ANGEL KISS
The last week of school for the year turned out to be hectic for Raphael. Every single class on his schedule required final exams and he needed to stay home to study more than usual. Raul and Sylvia exhibited happiness about this situation because they worried about their young son. They hoped he did well enough to warrant his skipping a grade and going directly into 7th grade.
Raphael looked forward to the summer break because he could wander around the city all day with his friends. He wouldn’t be under the watchful eye of his parents. As he walked into the cafeteria, he spied Eve sitting with Steven at a table. Even though Eve told him they were only friends, he suspected something more to their relationship. He sat down to join them and offered Eve his Jell-O cup dessert.
“I don’t nreally like Jell-O,” he said to her. “I wish they nhad nmore of a selection of desserts.”
Eve thought of this gesture as being kind and she blushed a red hue; vibrant against her blond locks. Steven finished his meal and said he needed to run because of some special project for one of his classes. He wanted to do things before school let out. Eve and Raphael sat alone at the table.
“That was nice,” Eve mentioned.
“What was nice?”
“Giving me your dessert,” she nodded. “How did you know I liked Lime Jell-O? It’s my favorite.”
“I didn’t,” Raphael admitted. “I njust don’t care for squiggly stuff nmuch.”
“I’m going to miss you this summer,” Eve confessed. “We’ve gotten to be quite good friends.”
“I’ll miss you too Eve,” Raphael replied. Now Raphael blushed.
“When we leave lunch today,” Eve advised, “let’s leave a bit early. I want to show you something.”
Raphael loved the time he spent with Eve and she could convince him to skip school with her if she wanted. They finished up their lunch and walked out of the cafeteria together. As they walked down the hallway, Eve reminded Raphael of the conversation previously about not having a boyfriend. They passed an empty room and Eve pulled Raphael inside and closed the door. The two leaned against a large work table in the room.
“I wanted to thank you for being so sweet Raphael,” she began. “Steven is a good friend but I can see you and I being more. Would you like to kiss me?”
Raphael never kissed a girl before and he wasn’t sure how. Do you keep your eyes open or shut? Do you keep your mouth open or shut? Eve put her arms around his neck and pulled him towards her. They kissed lightly on the lips and Raphael felt a sensation he only experienced once or twice in his life. He had a boner.
Eve knew much more about the art of love because she instructed Raphael to touch his tongue to hers as they kissed. The boner got bigger. They broke apart and Eve stood there staring at Raphael.
“I wanted to kiss you,” she breathed, “so you won’t forget me this summer.”
“I wouldn’t forget nyou Eve,” Raphael responded. “I like nyou and nwant to be nyour boyfriend.”
“When we come back in the fall,” Eve declared, “possibly we can start to go steady. Would you give me a ring?”
“I nhave to find one as npretty as nyou are,” he complimented. “I will nlook for one this summer.”
Eve pulled Raphael close again for one last kiss. She said, “I’ll see you in the fall” and quickly left the room. Poor Raphael stood at the table alone; with a lump in his throat and a bulge in his pants.
He finished up his classes and went directly to his neighborhood. He wanted to go meet his friends’ downtown, but his mission took precedence above all other things. He wanted to shop for a ring for Eve; even though he wouldn’t be able to give the present to her until the fall classes started. He made his first stop a jewelry store on 3rd Avenue. Sturdy bars on the window told him they must carry some expensive and valuable items.
As he perused the counters, the realization came to him about how hard ripping anything off from this store would be. Everything seemed displayed in glass cases. An older gentleman approached him and asked if he might be of assistance.
“I’m nlooking for a nring for nmy girlfriend,” he told the clerk. “I need ideas for nwhat I nwant.”
“How much did you want to spend,” the clerk questioned. “We offer all ranges of price, but you seem a little young to be buying a ring. How old are you?”
“I’m almost 11 years old,” Raphael announced. “I didn’t realize I needed to nbe a ncertain age.”
“Oh there’s no age limit,” the clerk apologized, “but I wanted to get an idea of where to start showing you our fabulous selections.”
“I don’t nhave a lot of money,” Raphael conceded, “maybe about $ 100 dollars. Will I nbe able to afford anything?”
The clerk took Raphael to a counter where he showed him an assortment of what they called ’Friendship ’rings. The price ranges went from $ 29 dollars to over $1999. Raphael pointed to a fancy sterling silver ring, priced at under $ 200; complete with a lovely wooden display box. The ring featured a little jewel in the center reminding him of a diamond. The band burned bright with shiny silver and a black edge. The clerk took the ring out and asked him what size he would need.
“I haven’t nmeasured the size yet,” he answered, “because I ’m looking ntoday. I need to save up first.”
“This would make a fine ring for a girl,” the clerk boasted. “She must be quite special to you.”
“She is,” Raphael beamed, “and I nwant the best nthat I can afford.”
Raphael now theorized an idea of what he wanted and thanked the man for his time. He knew the layout of the store and as he left, he checked around for any cameras. Someday, he and his friends might come back to the store and do real shopping.
He walked down 3rd Avenue until he came to the alley in front of his home. Upon entering the house, Natasha glanced up from finishing up her task of making the family dinner.
“Ooh Raphael,” she burst out with her heavy accent, “youse scared me. I didn’t hecspec you to be here so soon.”
“Today we did nfinal tests,” Raphael explained. “I nfinished up early and left.”
“I ham making Veener Schnitzel for your deener tonight,” she bragged. “I theenk you will like deener tonight.”
“Does the dish have nhot dogs inside?” Raphael asked.
“No,” she followed. “Veener Schnitzel ees a veal deesh. Do you understandt vat Veal is?”
“I nthink its beef,” he claimed, “a baby cow, I nthink.”
“Veddy goot,” Natasha confirmed. “You are so smart. Now run go enjoy your programs.”
Raphael sat down and turned the TV set on. They still featured news reports about the trouble in Harlem where some unknown person or persons lit fires. None of this mattered too much to Raphael because he still lived on cloud nine thinking of the kiss he got from Eve. The thought of her caused him to stir below the belt. He got up and switched the TV to his Ninja Turtles program. After a while, the show now seemed juvenile. He guessed probably he outgrew them as he shut the TV off.
He went to his room to read his comic books. Perhaps reading would help him stop thinking about the fantastic kiss. He thought about seeing other people on television kiss before and even caught his father and mother kissing once or twice. He didn’t think kissing to be a big deal, but now after happening to him, he realized he liked it.
He liked it a lot.