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Preceding The Kiss: I Wish This Wasn’t Based on a True Story.

By Sophie Cohen:

So there I was, sitting alone on the lifeguard stand with the avoirdupois of the knowledge of fleeting youth weighing heavy on my shoulders. Shit. Did I use that word correctly? I don’t know what came over me, I don’t really talk like that. That wasn’t me. Anyways. There I was on the lifeguard stand, alone. Waiting. For him.

I met him this morning outside of the coffee shop and we traded information. He was tall, with a trim figure, curly hair, and a nose that crawled carelessly across his face. Was he the guy of my dreams? Of course not, the guy of my dreams is a clean shaven Chris Evans. But did I think about him all day anyways? No, obviously not!

So, it was midnight and I was waiting for him and all of a sudden I saw a light flash about 200 feet in front of me. I shone my flashlight and it landed on two 30 year olds doing something totally profane on the sand up ahead. “Sorry! Have fun you two!” I called. I turned my flashlight off. I was mortified. For them! The oldest you can be to be profane on a beach is 25-- and even that is pushing the limits. Then, out of nowhere… I heard a call from a distance, “Hey!”. “Hi,” I called back. He laughed and started walking my way. His face was impressively small for his body, I had forgotten how small it was in the time between when we met and now. It looked as though he had been sloppily constructed by a jaded toddler: a China Doll’s head on a Century Bob’s body.

“Wanna get up here?” I called.

“Wait a sec.”

“What? Do you need some help getting up here or something?” I teased.

He paused. A woman asking a man if he needs help, even as a joke, is a direct threat to his masculinity, a pointed jab at his only worldly pride, and so at that moment, his silence... scared the shit out of me.

“Have you heard of salsa dancing?”

I think I may rather be strangled in silence, feeling like I am in danger, than be asked if I know what salsa dancing is.

“No, what's that?”

“Oh so basically, salsa dancing-”

He amazed me. Both with his stupidity and his lack of faith in my intelligence.

“Yes, I’ve heard of salsa dancing.”

“Well, do you want to salsa?”

“Salsa? Salsa dance? Earlier in town when you said ‘do you want to salsa on the beach tonight?’ I thought that was a euphemism… guess not?”

“A euphemism?”


So then, we salsa danced. He asked me about my aspirations and so I spilled them all out to him. I asked him about his aspirations, and unfortunately, he didn’t have any. He told me he tried to learn Arabic for a while but that it didn’t really work out for him.

“Wow, Arabic, that must have been a really hard language to learn”


“So that reads from right to left, right?”

“Nope. It reads left to right. Just like English!”

I wonder why learning Arabic never really worked out for him. I can’t relay all of the details of the salsa dancing fiasco, mostly because I don’t want to, but it ended just the way it started, somewhat hastily and very underwhelmingly. And so, with little deliberation we grabbed onto the posts of the lifeguard stand with our newly sweaty hands and hoisted ourselves up.

We kissed, etc.


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