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Saturday, February 26, 2011

First kiss

I have been meaning to write this since valentine's day but life overtook me until this time.

Leading up to valentine's day I listened to a DNTO broadcast on the topic of: your first kiss. The show made me think back to my first kiss so many years ago.

To be fair my first kiss was when I was 5 years old, under a spruce tree which had my initials carved in it next to my family's u-pick strawberry field. But it was disputed by the co-conspirator in the following years as to whether the kiss occurred or not. So I will document my first kiss as the one I received when I was 15years old in my aunts' spare room in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia.

The boys name was Sasha Viminitz, you can't forget a name like that even if you didn't kiss him. I met him in the provincial debating championship held in Digby in the winter of 1988 (?). I was in grade 9 at Pugwash Municipal High School and he was in grade 9 at Oxford Street school in Halifax. From the moment I first saw him I was smitten and when I heard that suave Russian name fall from his lips I felt my knees buckle.

At first he acted superior to me, the country bumpkin, but after we talked a bit and he discovered that I did not hail from the red dirt land of Pugwash and had lived and traveled in other vicinities he dropped some of the city slicker attitude.

The debating championship was held over a weekend with teams from across the province meeting in Digby. My team consisted of myself, the school brainiac Christian and one other girl who made the team due to the fact that she showed up to the try outs and she had stage presence; she was consummate beauty pageant contestant; other than that she was most likely the dullest knife in the grade 9 drawer at our school.

We were staying at the Old Orchard Inn just outside of Wolfville, we three girls and one of our teachers. We drove the additional hour to Digby in the morning of the debates. It was a big thrill. Away from home, on a sleep over in a hotel with some school mates. It didn't matter that none of us were friends, we weren't enemies and this was an awesome opportunity for us all.

Along with all the awesomeness of the trip and the hotel I added Sasha. By the end of the weekend our rag-tag debating team came in 56 out of 57 teams and I had gotten Sasha's phone number. I was completely satisfied with the results.

For the next few weeks Sasha and I did the teenage telephone thing, wracking up telephone bills and hyper-stimulating our hormone levels. We spent hours on the phone and talked of very little. Certainly nothing of importance.

After a few weeks of lusting on the phone- I hatched a plan to see Sasha in the flesh in Halifax, several hours away from Pugwash where I was living. I arranged to take the bus to Halifax and stay at my aunts house in the suburbs for one weekend. My mother was living up North and was rather oblivious to everything that I did and gave her consent for my travel plans. My aunt was a little more cautious.

When I arrived at my aunts house she quizzed me on 'the boy'. She was not happy about the circumstance; me coming to Halifax to visit a boy, going into the city by myself to his house. A house that she assured me was in a very bad part of town. Granted, I now know that Maynard Street is a bad part of town and she had very good reason to be concerned. In a similar situation I would not give my daughter leave to follow through with a similar adventure.

Bright on Saturday morning I headed out to the city. I am uncertain but I think that my aunt drove me to Sasha's house. She didn't usually drive in the city but she really wanted to know where I was going and make sure it looked less than menacing.

I walked into Sasha’s house. The door was open onto the street and I found him towards the back fixing a bicycle. We walked out the front door and waved my aunt off and proceeded to explore the city.

The first stop was Citadel Hill. We walked around inside and then proceeded to take the leave that is given to young people on the hill and rolled ourselves from top to bottom numerous times until we were so dizzy we felt sick. Sasha's lab coat flashed brightly and was soon full of grass stains but it didn't seem to diminish his unique fashion statement.

We walked around Scotia Square and down on the waterfront. It was a fabulously sunny day with a strong breeze. The most perfect spring day two young lovers could ask for.

I returned to my aunts house that evening and dreamed of Sasha, at least I did while I was still awake and too excited for sleep.

The next day Sasha came to my aunts house. I was staying in the spare room and that is where Sasha and I decamped for most of the afternoon. We sat and talked in there with the door closed for hours. Occasionally my aunt would knock lightly at the door and offer an excuse for an intrusion; snacks, an introduction to her pet rabbit etc.

But eventually the big moment arrived. We ran out of things to say. He looked and me and I looked at him and the silence took on a clear meaning and mutual intention. We kissed. I can't remember what the kiss felt like; we may have grated teeth maybe not. What I do remember was the feeling that shot through my entire body; I was electrified. Every cell and molecule was on fire. The moment lasted through several lifetimes and then we were back sitting in a small room in the suburbs. We kept talking. And soon it was time for Sasha to head home.

I never saw Sasha again after that. I am not even sure if we even called each other again after that weekend. But I never forgot him or that electricity I felt in that moment.

Listening to the radio show about first kisses took me back to those days and I wondered if I could find Sasha in the cyberworld; for like me we have a name that no other person on the planet can claim. I am the only Lois Ann Dort and he is the only Sasha Viminitz.

I did the usual google and Facebook searches. I found a Facebook page immediately and the profile pic was of Sasha when he was possibly a little bit younger than when I first met him. No mistaking that face. I sent him a message wishing him a happy valentine's day some 20 years late and mentioned the details about our early teenage romance to jog his memory. I regret to say I have not heard from him. It would be fun to find out what he is doing now. According to his profile he is in Edmonton, a city I too once lived in.

A google search was not very productive. There were several pages of hits with his name on them but they almost all referred back to something that had occurred more than 10 years ago.

I have come to several dramatic conclusions about what this all means. The first being that Sasha may be a ghost. His digital trail died several years ago, there are no recent google hits for his name. Of course he must have been alive at least five years ago when facebook went online but that does not mean he is still alive today. There are many cases where people who have died still have live cyber accounts. It always disconcerts me when I pull up my friends list and find my uncle Henry there; he died over a year and a half ago. And until recently when my aunt called me on Skype the incoming call was designated as being from Henry. Freaks you out a little. So maybe, and I certainly hope not, Sasha is a cyber ghost.

Another possibility I have considered is that maybe Sasha is jealous of me, or of what he can access about my life on the internet. He believed he was the smarter of the two of us when we were teenagers and now judging by our presence online I have far surpassed him. If you google me you will find that I have written the authoritative quote of recommendation for the back cover of a book of fiction. I have written a thesis which is occasionally cited in other people's research. I have worked on an archeology pit crew. I have helped launch a book of creative fiction in Bangkok. My writing has been cited in art exhibits in both Amsterdam and San Fransisco. And I currently have pages of bylines from my local newspaper online. It's a significant digital footprint. I am proud of what I have achieved. But I do wonder if he is out there, and he bothered to look, would it deflate his ego? I hope this is just my own ego thinking out loud and not in any way a reality.

So then I am left with the third possibility, he thinks I am some clingy psycho stalker. Really I am just curious. Curious about the lives that have met mine and what has become of people that were once significant in my universe.

I plan to tag this post with Sasha's name. Maybe that will get his attention.

Update: I googled him again and this time found a Flikr pic and evidence that he is running a hostel in Jasper, Alta. So I guess he just thinks I am crazy. C'est la vie.


  1. Hi Lois Ann... I just came upon your posting. What a terrific story. Sasha and I have been best friends since we were both 15. He moved to Edmonton from Halifax at the end of grade 9 and that's where we first met. I'm now a province away in Saskatchewan. He's still in Edmonton. Despite the distance we're still quite close. I'm going to pass this on to him. By the way, he would be very happy to hear about your accomplishments. He wouldn't be jealous or think negatively in any way. He's not like that at all. Anyway, all the best to you and your writing! Amin

  2. HI Amin,
    I just saw your comment- been too busy to post lately. As I said, I was pretty sure it was just my own ego carrying me away in wild speculation. I a glad you liked the piece. You just can't beat a name like Sasha Viminitz.

  3. Great story Lois Ann. I too am a good friend of Sasha's (and Amin's) and second what he says about him. I'm sure he'd love to hear from you! Just keep in mind that he's not a regular checker of his email or facebook. Good luck to you.

  4. Glad you liked it Bubba. He made a big impression on me back in the day. I am sure he's as dynamic and interesting now as he was then. I did find him on FB and I think we exchanged a message or two. Fun to look back on those early teen-age years.