Marianne was often kissed at parties in junior high school. It couldn’t be helped. She had a way of combing her long auburn hair and arranging it on her shoulders and down her back that drew the boys’ eyes to her like a girlie magazine left accidentally on a desk in a father’s study. The kisses usually came at her in a sudden rush – a quick peck as she chose a cookie from the cut-glass platter. Her lips, dressed heavily in Bonnie Bell rootbeer lip gloss would find themselves for a moment joined to the quivering dry lips of boys: Johnny Tewilliger, Jacob Hirsch or Donald Farquar.
Marianne, stunned, simply blinked at them and offered a little grin, a thank-you, polite as she was. Another way the boys snatched her kisses was when she pulled on her red and green plaid wool coat, her arms temporarily occupied and her curtain of hair partially hiding her face. The boys hid their cowardice behind her hair and leaned in to peck her on the lips, which were now free of rootbeer glaze and were stained with Hawaiian punch, and her breath scented with peanut butter cookies. Marianne never minded but she never understood why she was often kissed at junior high parties.