These were the prompts given to me: eat us an armadillo, laugh till you cry, pick up the pieces, then he joined us, battle of the brain and the body, that was her first kiss ever, don’t move, good thing it ended when it did, the notebook, never mind
I have to admit that I simply could not write about eating an armadillo. But putting that together with “first kiss!”—well, I had no choice!
“Don’t move,” Ted whispered to Kitty as he took as step closer.
“What?” Kitty asked, wondering at his sudden advance, thinking that a spider or wasp may have lit on her shoulder. But now he was pushing back her hair, just as he’d intended all along and then he pressed his lips against hers. It was her first kiss ever and it wasn’t too unpleasant as kisses go, she supposed, though his mouth did taste of that cheap strawberry wine he’d spiked the punch with. He drew back then, as if to get a reaction and she had time enough to consider composing her face into a small Mona Lisa-like smile, since she was undecided on whether to encourage or dissuade him. But then—oh, my God!!—he had turned into an armadillo!! An armadillo in a polo shirt and khakis! She was stunned. Was this what she could expect every time she kissed a boy?
She was so acculturated to display courtesy that she resisted the urge to push him aside and run screaming back into the gym. What is the matter with me? she wondered. Have I no instinct for self-preservation?
“What’s wrong?” Ted asked in his nasally armadillo voice, and Kitty felt panic gurgling in her throat. He was leaning in again for another pucker. She was flailing like a fish, trying to shift away from the tiled cafeteria wall, when a deep male voice boomed over their heads. “You both need to come back into the dance.” Kitty exhaled in relief at the sound of Principal Winkler’s demand, but when she looked up she saw the administrator had turned into a heavy mustachioed walrus. She squared her shoulders and headed back toward the music. “Yes, sir,” she said quickly, knowing the battle between brain and body had begun. This is who they really were, she was sure of it. They were reptile, marine mammal, bird, and insect. She was eager to dart into the girls’ bathroom to check the mirror. Had she taken on an animal persona now too?
“Wait,” she heard the armadillo shout after her. “Don’t you want to dance? It’s a slow one,” he added hopefully.
“Never mind,” she admonished, pushing through the teenaged crowd.
The gym lights were dimmed, so the florescence of the restroom made her squint. Kitty was willing now to confront her true animal self, to pick up the pieces of scattered longings she’d been feeling since she was twelve years old. She bellied up to the crowded sinks where other girls were coating lips and lashes with additional gloss and mascara. They were all fuzzy faced sheep, bleating in a mixture of euphoria and repressed disappointment. She looked into the mirror. She was only herself. She was unchanged. Maybe it was because she hadn’t enjoyed the kiss. It had been like pressing her mouth against a piece of tissue paper, nothing more. She hoped it wouldn’t always be this way.
Good thing it had all ended when it did. She would call her Dad now to come pick her up early, go home and laugh till she cried. Then maybe she’d write it all up in her notebook. She had ambitions of becoming a novelist someday, and maybe she’d just lived through Chapter One.