Kisses unkempt.

It is a pity that kisses have to disappear. Aren’t they one of the sweetest creations that (wo)mankind can afford? They could be summoned at will and thrown away without much regret. Some of them live in our memories for decades, some are luscious yet contrite and some of them are lost on people who left those memories in a trash can. A trash can which they threw into the ocean, swam three rounds across the globe, and was found at a beach in Santa Barbara. The same beach where they went for a respite from the grinding careers that chose them.

But those instances are beyond the point. The fundamental characteristics of kisses refuse to change. It is unknown, from where they originate. Neuroscientists might have an answer for you, but I am more convinced by the Shamans who take you in when modern medicine fails. This has nothing to do with kissing. The problem with modern medicine isn’t Science, but modernity itself is the problem. The definition of wellness in modernity is so skewed, you are better off as a deranged maverick than a highly successful technocrat. Still, there’s hope. And kissing holds the key.

Irrespective of all these conflicting identities that you maintain, kisses could be a ray of hope. I mean, Philematology is nice alright. But what matters is how many people have you kissed and how. How has your kissing prowess progressed over the years. What is it like to kiss someone you love, but you don’t know? What is it like to be kissed when you desire something else?Or what is it like to do something else when all you desire is to be kissed?

I suspect that this is something that I can write about only after years of experience. And of course, I should be away from the place where my lips were forever wedded to this one woman from whom I could not keep myself away from. I am glad, that era has passed. Those were the times when I believed that my lips will never find solace in a place other than her dry lips. It was easy to believe that those lips were dry because I never kissed them enough. I tried to make up for that, finding ways to kiss her more and better. Later only will I realise that those lips were dry only because there was no love left in between us. The surplus love that I nurtured for her was in fact, the residue of everything that I sucked out of her. Incidentally, all our kisses were delicate. All the slurping kisses that came after her never drained the women who came after her. They always had plenty of love, but she didn’t. I still don’t understand why. She was special, but she was nasty as well. I don’t hate her, loss of my love itself was the worst I could do to her.

We met at college. The chances of us running into each other in this world was incredibly low. But the adolescent afterglow made me think that it was meant to be. So did she. Years later, she told me that it was a silly early-adulthood mistake that she made. Only question that amused me was, who amongst us made the bigger mistake? It wasn’t easy to answer. So I decided to dig up the dead kisses and ask them.

But they were long gone. It is not the case that I am not well acquainted with kisses. I have been kissing since I started to know who I am. So much of a narcissistic kid, I used to kiss the mirror. The cold glass gave me a sense of belonging, yet it was so detached. I enjoyed the little numbness in my lips after. As someone coming from a world where kissing mirrors were alright, any living thing would have been an upgrade. My childhood is a testimony to that.

Then came the times when I kissed the neighbourhood girl who used to come visit me. She was older and perhaps more experienced. But in hindsight, it is unlikely that she has done something sexual at that age. So even when we kissed, it was limited to platonic kisses that were warm and homely. Of course, we kissed in the lips and the dopamine rush was palpable, but it wasn’t anything close to being sexual. I was too young for that. I tried to find those kisses from where I could start the investigation. But they are like the rare butterflies that have gone extinct. They just vanish once their purpose is served. They leave no trace, not even fossils. Unless they happen to be trapped in the molten lava that solidifies over time. Kisses are preserved too, not through videographic evidence, which I find rather bland. You cannot photograph a kiss. You can however preserve a kiss. That is through the glyphs that you dig deep into the recess of your mind. But not all kisses are preserved this way. Only the ones that are strong enough to simultaneously distort your mind’s walls as they upend you emotionally and physically. Those kisses are always the most delicate ones you can ever imagine. Yet, they dig their heels deep into your soul, creating glyphs that will throb even after years. The kind of kisses that keep you tethered to a person long lost, even if you have no desire of getting back.

So the forensic science around kisses is a hopeless science of ghosts and philomaths went astray. I suspect that it is the lost love interests that persuade us to pursue this broken science. And it is these deep learnings that take us to yet another interesting concept that rules our worlds - The memories of letters lost.

I will write about that another day.

Written on September 21, 2020