From Sunset Park …

The first kiss … From the stories of JoJo and Pewee …

They were Josephine Anna Napoli and Peter Giovanni Gambone, born two days apart and currently a very grown ten years of age. Heading for fifth grade, both were the shortest in their classes, at home and in the neighborhood. They were also dark like their parents, spry and full of mischief, although most of their adventures were pushed by Josephine’s relentless curiosity.

They sat on her front steps. It was the last day of summer vacation and they were both moody and glum.

Josephine asked him, “Hey how about we go down to the docks?”

“Sure, JoJo, why don’t we get in big trouble right before school starts?”

“Don’t be a chump, Pewee.”

As usual, he followed her. They cut through the park, walked down the long hills and headed for the docks to watch the ships coming in for the weekend, pushed and guided into the New York harbor by the small tugs.

JoJo turned to Pewee and said, “We sure had fun this summer.”

“Yeah, we sure did, little fart.”

“We promised not to say that anymore.”

“So, you going to tell?”

“Naw, I’ll let you off easy this time.”

He ran ahead for a minute. “I think when I grow up I want to see the world.” He put his arms straight out, pretending to be a plain.

“The whole world!” Then he ran back and pulled on one of Josephine’s braids.  “Tag! You’re it.”

She ran after him and caught up in no time. “You know you can’t out run me, not even when you get a head start.”  She pulled his ear.

“Ouch!  What’d you do that for?”

“You pulled my braid.” She waved both braids at him. “What’d you do that for?”

He glared at her. “Cause I felt like it. That’s why.” He turned away.

Josephine saw that lately Peter had been looking at her funny. “Are you getting fresh with me Peter Gambone?”

She turned him back around and stood with her hands on her hips; facing him down.  “That would really make me mad. You’re my best friend so you aren’t supposed to get fresh with me like. You know.”

He swung around, his back to her. When he turned back she could see he was angry. “No, but Rosie told me that you kissed Tommy by the school yard.”

In spite of herself, she smiled; remembering. She had always told her mom Peter would be the first boy she would kiss. She was sure he wouldn’t hold a little peck from Tommy against her. After all, she really didn’t like Tommy.

She dramatically raised herself an inch over him and exclaimed, “Rosie is such a nosy-body! Anyway he’s not my best friend. You are.”

They were standing in front of the A&P factory. Josephine started running and didn’t stop until she got to the end of the boat dock, passed where they loaded the trucks.

“Hey, wait for me.” He ran behind her.

They both sat at the edge of the dock and listened to the waves of the incoming tide hitting the pilings and the rocks against the retaining wall. “Well did you kiss him or not?”

She thought this was a time where the whole truth would not be a good idea. Evasion was her best course of action.

“Peter Gambone, I told my mom you were going to be the first boy I kissed. So you want to kiss me or not?”

He moved closer and then she moved in closer and then it wasn’t so much as a kiss as they brushed over each other’s lips. So they tried  again and that time it worked. It felt good and Josephine was surprised. Peter’s ruby-red lips were so soft and when she finally opened her eyes, she saw his dark eyes shinning and his face a deep shade of red.

“What’cha think of that, Pewee?”

“JoJo, we’re going to be friends forever.”

She nodded with delight and told him, “Yes, we will.” 

They stood quietly in front of her door, each smiling and holding warm secret thoughts. Then they looked at each other and laughed.

His small, beautiful face glowed, and he said, “So I guess I’ll see you.”

Josephine stepped into her doorway and told him, “You bet’cha.”


Looking back to
Go forward with,





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2 responses to “From Sunset Park …

  1. christicorbett

    So sweet.

    I love that even though he mentions “big trouble” if they go to the docks he follows her anyway :).

    Ahhhh, the things we do for love.

    Christi Corbett


  2. laradunning

    Ah, the innocence of youth. The nerves, the sweetness, life and everything looms before you. The first kiss is a step all of us take on our way to understanding love and friendship.


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