Seven Minutes in Heaven

People say you change many times in the course of your teenage years, and that your time in school will teach you lessons you will never forget. I think they were referring to classrooms and football fields, but one of my greatest learning experiences began in a parking lot. It was as I was waiting to be picked up one day that I met my first girlfriend.

Her name was Brittany. She was pretty, outgoing and two years older than I was - it seemed to good to be true that she was interested in me - but not long after we met, we became an offical couple. At our age, "going out" meant that we talked on the phone every night, and saw each other at school in between classes. We never really had a lot of opportunity to see each other or get to know one another very well. But, never having been in a relationship before, I thought that this was what they were like. It didn't seem liek a big deal that we weren't that close, that I didn't get butterflies in my stomach when I saw her.

Not long after we got together, she called me and told me that she was going to a party with some friends, and that she wanted me to go with her. I said I would, and waited somewhat nervously that night for her to pick me up. When the small car packed with teenagers arrived, I squeezed in and wondered what I was getting myself into.

An hour into the party, I was feeling less self-conscious and a lot more comfortable. Though the people at the party were older than me, they were people I knew, or had seen around school. It all seemed innocent enough - we just sat around eating popcorn, watching a movie and having a good time - until the movie ended.

Someone suggested a game of "Spin the Bottle", and my heart began to beat a little faster. It can't be that bad, I thought to myself. It's just kissing even if it is in front of a bunch of other people. But after a little while, some people wanted to take the game a little further. I heard somebody say "Seven Minutes in Heaven", and everyone answered "Yes!" with knowing smiles. I had no idea what it was, and looked at Brittany for help, but she just smiled and agreed that it was a good idea.

After the first few couples spent their seven minutes in heaven, I figured out what the objet of the game was - going into a closet and kissing. My stomach flip-flopped and I felt dizzy as I waited for the inevitable, when it would be my turn with Brittany. I was scared. I had no experience with this kind of thing, and I was about to jump into it head first with a girl two years older than I was. I didn't know what she expected, or what she would tell the older kids when we got out. I could see a sad reputation of being a lame boyfriend looming in the near future.

I really didn't have a lot of time to think about it, because our turn came, and Brittany pulled me after her into the closet. As it turned out, she was an experienced kisser - I didn't have time to think, or react, she just kind of took over. I was relieved and glad when it was over. When she took me home later, neither one of us said much. I don't know what she was thinking about, but I was still trying to let everything sink in. It wasn't as much fuhn as I had thought it would be - there was no romance or feeling in it.

It was never talked about, but in the weeks that followed the party, my relationship with Brittany slowly ended, and I returned to doing normal things with kids my own age. I thought it was strange that I didn't feel sad about it. It was almost a relief to not have to worry about another party or situation where I would feel out of my league.

I was at the beach with friends several months later when I started talking to a girl. As we talked, I realized I was strangly happy just listening to her and watching her smile while she told me about her life. There was something about her that made me enjoy just being with her. With no thoughts of what it meant, I knew I wanted to see her again so we planned to meet the following week, same time, same place.

I was completly comfortable as we sat on a blanket that night filling each other in on the events of the long week that preceded our reunion. We sat next to the bonfire and laughed, and suddenly, I wanted to kiss her...and I did. A pure, sweet, innocent kiss, one that made me feel warm and happy. And though it was nowhere near seven minutes, it was definitely a piece of heaven.

- Andrew Keegan, as told to Kimberly Kirberger