One day I kissed three different boys. All in the same day. Let’s call them Past, Present, and Future. This was completely uncharateristic of me. I’m one of those serial monogamists with two long-term boyfriends and a few crushes covering the expanse of my dating history.

Past and I had been high school sweethearts and stayed together for most of our twenties. He was broad, dark, melancholic and liked watching films, not movies. Our breakup was surprising for both of us and most others, except for the ones that really paid attention. I was angry, he was sad. We took turns being confident that it was time to move on.

Present was my current crush, fairly labelled as the rebound. He was tall, blond, and confident, even a little imposing for my petite frame. He loved a party, was gregarious, and exceeding level-headed. But he was hopelessly Capricon. Generally, I’m not into astrology, but over the years my mother has pointed out that I struggle with those born between December 22nd and January 19th. Friends, family, potential love relationships; Capricorns and I do not jive. Before the day of the kiss triad, Present and I had been out for one date.

I’d decided to shed all traces of Past from my life by and moving to a faraway place and, thus, I needed a temporary spot to sleep as I readied myself for the trip. Future was my flatmate. He was as tall as Present, but more open, humble, and generous. He was strong, creative, adventurous, and liked to talk. He always looked happy to see me, smiling at me with his hazel eyes. He was perfect. And he had a zillion friends who were girls – I thought I was one of those.

On the day of the kisses, I needed to sign some documents at Past’s house, I’d agreed to a second date with Present, and then I would head to my temporary home at Future’s.

At Past’s new home, with purpose and sorrow, we got down to the business of eliminating every official trace of us by writing our names in cursive lettering. How absurdly simple and disproportionate to the meaning behind the act. When we finished, he leaned over and kissed me. It was a slow, forlorn kiss, his lips almost limp with inevitability, and my cheeks flushed and dripping with salty tears.

Later, Present and I met in front of the movie theatre, gathered our tickets and went inside. We sat down next to one another with the lights already dim. Before I’d had a chance to take off my coat, Present had swept me up in his long arms and pulled me close, kissing me passionately in a way that made me think it would be prudent for us not to be in the movie theatre. He pulled away and said in his deep, husky voice, “Hello.” It was a good thing I was already sitting. Then we watched the movie, he didn’t hold my hand, and I dropped him off, declining his offer to come up.

Back at Future’s, he greeted me with a warm, engulfing hug, the kind that makes you feel shielded from all the troubles of the world. We sat on the steps in the lounge and he asked me how I was doing. He didn’t want any details about my date with Present, just to check in with how I was processing the breakup and the pending move. We sat on those steps talking for a long time, gradually moving closer to one another, impercetbily at first, but then our knees were touching. I almost thought he wouldn’t do it, I wondered if maybe he shouldn’t do it. In time, he leaned over and pressed his lips onto mine. His lips were the softest, strongest, most sincere and responsive I’d ever kissed. It ranks as the best kiss in my life, and certainly the best kiss of that day. The only day, by the way, that I’d ever had occasion to make such direct comparisons.

Ten years later, married to Future, I reflect on this day with mild embarassment. Did that really happen? Did I really behave that way? My friends still tease me about it. Mostly, I’m thankful. Past let me go, Present told me to keep looking, and Future, well, here we are.

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