Elizabeth’s first kiss came with far more people than she had hoped to have present.
If you are a prospective student of The Nunnery, nuns see boys all the time! You will need to remind yourself you are surrounded by women 24/7 because it totally does not feel like it! If you are a current or former nun, you know the truth: you are constantly aware that the only people you have seen in six weeks are teachers and girls. Maybe you are made aware of your womanly environment for a reason that makes you realize why you are a student of The Nunnery. For example, you could recognize the confidence you have in the classroom to speak your mind without a boy interrupting you to say exactly what you said, but his limited vocabulary makes the explanation longer and less eloquent. But it’s more likely that you remember The Nunnery is all girls when you find yourself in class next to the contoured and blown out Lindsay while you haven’t used make-up since eighth grade when you thought you could impress boys with your clumpy mascara.
If you’re a nun, you need to put in time and effort to get a glimpse of a boy on Saturday evenings when the consortium sponsored events are held. You have to haul your make-upped, scantily clad, curled hair self onto a big, yellow school bus. Then you have to cover up a little bit because Dean Teresa has threatened to remove you from the bus if the four B’s are not modestly covered: back, belly, boobs, and butt. If you survive the bus ride to the nearest boy’s school, which is an hour away, then you, your squad, and five chaperones may descend from the bus’s stairs and approach the glorious, brightly shining gymnasium that still smells like teenage sweat and testosterone from the basketball game earlier that afternoon which the school probably lost. Private schools are rarely known for athletics.
Upon entering the gym, nuns have two options: find a boy or hide from a boy. Both are the worse option. To find a boy, you need to venture to the middle of the dance floor. As Dean Teresa warned you in class meeting, in assembly, when you paid her admission money to the event, and on the bus ten minutes ago, boys will grind on unsuspecting individuals in the middle of the dance floor. The chaperones have brought flashlights and make sure the nuns know that they will not hesitate to blind excessively horny teenagers with their weapons. If you choose to hide from a boy, then all your effort goes to waste.
Elizabeth, having vowed to herself on the bus that if nothing happened at this dance it would be her last, elected to find a boy. Elizabeth has a lot of confidence. At this point in her life, she was a junior who had never even kissed a boy. But wouldn’t you know it, she marched right up to Fernando and picked him to be her escort for the evening. Because the gym’s vaguely salty smell was ruining the vibes of new love blossoming, Fernando suggested he take Elizabeth for a walk around the grounds of his humble, 725 acre school nestled in the northwest Connecticut hills. Surprisingly, Fernando was both a pretty face and a lovely conversationalist. He dazzled Elizabeth with his knowledge of the English monarchy and classic novels that many only read in English class but Elizabeth read for fun.
As the evening came to a close around 9:40 pm so the nuns could make it back to the bus on time and back to the nunnery by midnight, Elizabeth and Fernando found themselves back in the gym, slow dancing to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. Fernando locked eyes with Elizabeth, whose eyes were shimmering with the memory of Rose letting Jack die, and he leaned in. Elizabeth closed the gap and had her first kiss under the neon strobe lights of the boys’ school gym that were supposedly better than the fluorescent ones that normally light the space. After a few seconds of bliss, Elizabeth began to hear some exaggerated kissing noises and heckling coming from behind her. She turned around, and all of her middle school bullies who had graduated to private high schools within The Nunnery’s consortium were behind her, bearing witness to and providing some nonconstructive criticism for Elizabeth’s first kiss. Elizabeth lived every single person’s worst nightmare and put all first kisses into perspective.
A couple years later, when Elizabeth was unpacking in her dorm at her women’s college, Nunnery 2.0, she received a text from Clarissa, a fellow former nun and current college student at a coed school in the same city. It read: Hey, remember Fernando? He goes to my school! I’m with him and his friends now!