Touching Tongues
by R. Baker
The first time I touched tongues with someone, I was standing by the chain link fence on the playground, after lunch. We were in second grade which meant that we could only play on the little slide, the monkey bars and the swing set because the fourth and fifth graders ruled the rest of the playground equipment, like the jungle gym and big slide. We were allowed to use the teeter-totters but they were made of wood and left splinters in your butt, so no one got on those much. If the fourth and fifth graders wanted your swing they would be really mean until you got off. There were more kids in our lunch period than playground equipment, so it meant a lot of waiting around unless you were a fourth or fifth grader. That's why we were standing by the chain link fence, watching the swing set in case someone left.

I was winding long blades of grass around the chain links and tying them in knots at the end. I thought this was braiding because back then I thought you braided with two strands and not three. So, really I was just wrapping. I was very absorbed in this and even forgot to check the swing set. Melissa was standing beside me and asked, 'Do you want to touch tongues?' I thought for a moment, scrunching up my face and said, 'Ew,' then I said, 'Okay.' She stuck out her tongue which was pointy at the end. My tongue was not pointy. I said, 'No.' She rolled her tongue into three waves. 'Can you do this?' I tried and looked at her. She shook her head like she was sad for me. 'How about this?' She rolled her tongue into a cylinder. That was easy so I did it. She stuck her pointy tongue out and flattened it down till it almost touched her chin.

'Just try it. It's weird,' She said. So I tried to reach my tongue down to my chin, but it didn't go much past my bottom lip. I started to drool. 'Not that. Touching tongues.' I looked around, there was a swing empty. 'There's a swing,' I pointed. She didn't look. I still had some grass in my hand, so I opened my palm and blew it into the air. 'Just one time.'

Melissa stuck her tongue out and closed her eyes. I closed my eyes and stuck mine out too, leaning toward her. I missed her tongue and licked her cheek by accident. 'Keep your eyes open' I said. I kept mine open too and when she leaned in I saw that she had light freckles on the bridge of her nose and that her eyelashes were dirty blond and not brown, like how they looked from farther than two inches away. We touched the tips of our tongues. It tasted like wet copper. Even though neither of us said anything, we did it again, for longer, jabbing our tongues at each other like a sword fight. It still tasted like copper, like the way pennies make your fingers smell. Her tongue felt like an animal that lived in her mouth but wasn't really part of her. Mine began to feel like that too and I noticed that it twitched a lot when I tried to hold it still. After we were done I said, 'That was weird,' and she said, 'I told you so.'
Posted by: R. Baker

Prose (June 19th, 2007)