One of my favorite poems growing up was entitled “Comes the Dawn”. To paraphrase its meaning, it talks of the lessons you learn as you grow, and reads:
“…and you learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises…”
and later says:
“…and you learn, and you learn, and you learn.
With every goodbye you learn.”
In the throes of a typical tumultuous adolescence, I found this especially poignant, remembering these lines from the all-too-brilliant scribe Anonymous (one of his/her best works, surely) any time I had my heart broken. I found myself reciting this poem a lot.
I haven’t thought about that poem in years, and as I’m laying here in bed in my sweltering, can’t-control-the-thermostat apartment, I found myself pondering the truth in those simple words. No, kisses AREN’T contracts, and most times it’s a truth about which I am so glad. But every now and again, how I wish they were. Because once in a while, you’re lucky enough to get a kiss that conveys something deeper: it’s a promise of more to come, signifies a reunion, or maybe even a symbol of things we had forgotten. You can’t fake those kisses, and while they don’t often happen in the pouring rain or after running down an airplane terminal, they certainly don’t happen in a crowded bar. And as I ponder my last few years of kisses (those I can remember, of course) I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m spending FAR too much time in anonymous, smoky bars than I am in places that would facilitate the type of kisses that I only recently rediscovered that I want.
No, kisses aren’t contracts, but they certainly don’t need to be meaningless.