I saw a prompt not too long ago asking the simple question: What’s the opposite of a kiss? Many people who responded in comments though it may have been a hug or even a slap, but couldn’t a kiss be the opposite of itself?
The quick peck on the cheek after your childhood friend hands you a rough and battered bouquet of dandelions and daisies. The kind that leaves you both blushing at your boldness until he works up the courage to return kiss moments later to your own cheek. There’s an overflowing sweetness and innocence to that one. So simple a brush to the cheek, yet it oozes embarrassment and affection of two young children.
The forced, bruising kiss from a captor who’s trapped you in the cage of his arms, holding one hand around the back of your neck and wrapping the other arm around your waist. This keeps you in the unwanted kiss, leaving you to struggle, shoving at his chest and trying to scream until his tongue slithers into your mouth. Now your voice is caged in your lungs and you breathe through your nose just to keep awake and alert enough to fight the sickening intimacy you never asked for. This kiss holds the desperation and longing for escape from such a harsh touch that your heart hammers your chest as your lungs burn and beg for more air. Knowing you can never undo what’s happening, you pray for the end to come quicker as you keep fighting.
Then there’s the whirling kiss from a soldier who’s returned to his love after so long a time of chaos, fear, and rage. He lifts you in his arms and catches your lips while he turns, spinning for a heightened sensation to make up for lost time. He sets you down only to cup your face in his hands as he breaks the kiss to breathe for just a moment. He continues with a series of shorter brushes to your lips, counting them to make sure he’s given you all he would have had he been there each day. When the fluttering in his heart calms he embraces you to hold you and give you one more kiss to your forehead as it starts to rain.
The groveling kiss you’re knocked on your knees for. Made to bow your head while on all fours to kiss the foot of a heinous monarch who scoffs at your rebellious battle with the guard who dragged you here. Made to lower yourself in the ultimate humiliating, submissive act, you force your lips to make contact with his filthy limb, only to spit once on the ground he walks on. His throaty laugh builds enough rage in you to spit in his face when you rise again. You wipe the touch from your lips and smirk as the guard drags you off to your execution.
There’s the gentleman’s kiss to take place after an introduction. She offers her hand and you lead it almost all the way to your lips, bow your head and brush a kiss to the top of her hand, touching her knuckles as you end it. You rise again, releasing her hand and catching a glimpse at her rosy-cheeked smile before she can turn away. There are similar greeting kisses on both cheeks, quick brushes, a sign of respect, common culture, formality, or affection.
The fleeting touch to the lips or cheek, whichever you catch on your way out the door with an “I love you” thrown in somewhere before you leave for the day.
There’s the continuous kiss with you and your lover so addicted to the sensation that you don’t break the connection. Rather, you breathe through your nose in rushed pants as you shift to remove clothing and further the intimacy. When there’s no fabric between you, you break the bond to trail your lips down your lover’s jaw, neck, chest, and abdomen before returning to their lips as not to forget that touch.
The quick feather touch to the temple as not to wake the child you sang to sleep. You embrace her one last time, leaving the ghost of a hug and kiss behind as you shift, lay her down, and tuck her in for the night with a whispered “Sweet dreams, baby.”
There’s the celebratory kiss to bring in a new year as the countdown ends. A quick melding of lips to convey the relief of leaving the old year behind and the hope of the one to come. This can combine with the whirl to further emotions of a law legalizing all love and being able to make official your bond as husband and husband or wife and wife.
There’s the last goodbye kiss, so short yet overflowing with emotion the dash of all your years of life and those spent together. One that holds your heart by a string before it shatters when the touch of cooling skin hits your lips for the last time. You hold the touch for longer than can be felt on Earth, praying somehow your loved one will feel it on the other side. Teardrops drip to cold, death stolen skin as you lay their hand on their chest and release yourself from your last physical bond. You bow your head and close your eyes to memorize their happier, healthier form instead as your lips quiver over the word “Goodbye.”
Even with all I have, there are many more opposites in such a simple seeming action. The kiss conveys countless emotions and can oppose itself with such polar extremes no one can question it.