There’s something in the sharing of feeling beyond understanding of language, where supple lips meet and tongues swirl to be lost in dizzy delight, or where cheeks brush in a softness of silk and kisses linger in the air of personal space.
Mine begin early from pooches, my blue-eyed girl first after thumping down the hallway in good morning squeals, her nails nicking the wooden boards as she bounds over her petite brown-eyed sister gliding for a hello too. Licks come fast and frenzied and a scratch on their head settles them to snuggle beside me, one by my chaise lounge of greying blue and the other resting her chin on my feet under my desk.
Then come the boys, usually one by one and in quick succession during a work and school week, or as a stroll that can be hours apart every other day. Their sleepy good morning kisses can be warm and soft, even over chiselled jaws, or come in a fleeting hurry to get out the door. They can be the lightest of pecks on cheeks that sometimes glide by with no skin contact at all and go beyond the ‘hob-nobbery’ of air kisses. Other times, one simple kiss lands with such powerful intent, loaded in boundless love that overwhelms and leaves me sopping in nourishing love. As little lads, we sometimes played games of butterfly and fish kisses that led to such laughter, of tigers and Eskimos too.
Lucky for me, I still have hello and good bye kisses from Mum and my brother who has spent all of his nine lives and is looking exceptionally well these days. And Mum’s partner, my partner and aunts and uncles, cousins, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews … from families galore. They’re hello and good bye kisses on cheeks and lips, automatic and customary, ones of habit steeped in deep memory and others brimming in open love. And from friends too, kisses and squeeze me tight hugs come with a depth of appreciation, care and love, and understanding of no matter what.
Kisses can be the obligatory greeting hello between acquaintances and colleagues, more heartfelt than the handshake. They can grow in warmth with hugs of thank you and good bye and air kisses of serious connection, even though lips may not touch and it’s the caress of skin that locks the energy. That can feed lingering thoughts over lunch and in meetings, of good byes in passionate, locked lips where hands cupping and caressing become part of the kiss and all is lost to tantalising tingles and hearts in jitters.
Then there are those ‘others’, the ones where a kiss landing lip to lip takes you by surprise and you wonder whether if mouths were slightly open, you’d go all the way, and the secret within of wanting to go all the way. Or the online flirt that could be a kiss if that person stood in front of you and you imagine what that kiss might be.
Of course kisses are never all Daphne and tulips and there are those soaked in sadness and laced in loss and blue, the ones weighted in tiredness and burden that require a sit and unravelling of the day. These kisses can be an exchange that lessen the load and strengthen a connection.
Regardless of the intent and expression of any kiss, all carry their own reservoir of precious, pooling droplets ready to fall into a garden of ripe and rich. I’d wilt without them.