By Debbie Olujobi
A kiss is a loving seal on affection, a bodily statement that speaks love when words become redundant; a physical expression of love. A kiss is intimate; it connotes familiarity, affection, an emotional currency of a love shared. I don’t refer to the casual cheek to cheek kiss that’s a meaningless greeting between strangers and mere acquaintances; that is very common, very continental and signifies nothing.
I write about the kiss that’s deliberate, that says and means something. A few years ago I picked up something that puts a kiss in its place in the order of importance of intimacy. It was a scene in a film that was very successful in the early nineties. The film was “Pretty Woman” and it starred a much younger Julia Roberts and an extremely attractive Richard Gere. The plot was simple enough. A young prostitute is picked up by an attractive and very successful man for intimate relations for a week and, as can only happen in movies, they fall in love and after some embarrassing and even heart-breaking events they end up together.
Everyone loves a story of redemption and it was a blockbuster success but the most profound part of it for me was the conversation between Vivian (Julia Roberts) and Kit (a fellow prostitute). During the course of the week long liaison, Vivian had been totally upgraded and was looking suspiciously too happy for a woman on the job and her friend Kit wanted to know if she had broken the honour code. It turns out the oldest profession, despised and shameful has an honour code! Kit’s question is the answer to the code. “Did you kiss him on the mouth? You never kiss a john (client) on the mouth; did you kiss him on the mouth?” Vivian shamefacedly confesses she had and Kit realises her friend had lost her heart! Kit goes on to explain that a prostitute needs to be devoid of feelings so she doesn’t get hurt and as such never kisses on the mouth as that signifies a love and intimacy she can’t afford. I don’t know for a fact that this is true for all ladies of the night but I agree with the sentiment. To kiss someone, you have to want them close; you have to embrace them, look into their eyes and to allow the kiss they also have to feel same. Bottom line is that a kiss happens when there is a relationship and the nature or depth of the kiss depends on how intimate the relationship is.
To the pedestrian and the shallow, a kiss is a prelude to sex, but to the deeply cerebral, a kiss is a gesture that surpasses sex, a statement on its own, an affirmation that is undoubtedly and unequivocally intimate and all love. A baby’s innocent and very wet kiss on his mother’s face, a lover’s gentle hello or goodbye, a friends gentle peck on the cheek and a father’s love on the forehead. I am a student in the RCCG School of Disciples and I just suddenly got a new understanding of a kiss. It was the final lecture, year 10 and we were all to watch a pre-recorded lecture given by Pastor E. Adeboye. Truth be told, I didn’t think a video would have me captivated but it did. It began with a kiss and its significance. Most of us are conversant with the story of Christ’s crucifixion, the events before and after but I truly got a new understanding and judging by how many people shed tears as they listened, I wasn’t alone.
He began by describing the abandonment that Jesus must have felt when his closest friends couldn’t even pray with him at the hour of his greatest need. How alone He would have felt to find He didn’t matter enough to them to spend just a few hours to support and pray with Him even in the face of impending death. All these were mini betrayals but the major one was the kiss; His fate was sealed with the loving kiss of a friend.
As a young girl I remember the 5 letters that used to dot the envelopes of all the adolescent love letters I ever saw. It took quite a while for me to figure out what the letters stood for but for some reason those letters flashed intermittently in my memory during that lecture. S.W.A.L.K to most teenagers was a declaration of love; it meant that the letter was Sealed With A Loving Kiss. The Bible records that those who came to arrest Jesus did not know him; he was always surrounded by His friends; to get him they used one of them. One of his closest friends; a man who kept all his money, ate with him, who shared everything with him sold him out for 30 pieces of Sliver. Betrayers are many and history has recorded many a tale of betrayal but none more brazen than that of Judas.
He sold out his friend for money, and then led soldiers to identify and arrest Hm. He embraced Jesus, looked into his eyes and sealed the deed with a pretentious loving kiss. My eyes filled with tears as I put myself in the Saviour’s shoes, wondering what he felt, being dragged away to certain death after a kiss. Let’s not forget that he heard Peter, one of His best friends, deny ever even knowing him not once, not twice but thrice; Peter swore, even cursed himself just to distance himself. The Bible actually tells us Jesus turned around and looked at Peter; what a friend! I am sure the world is full of many Judases and many Peters; those who would sell us and send us to damnation, who would violate the sanctity of friendship, of love, who would deny us in times of need and even have the guts to look into our eyes and seal our fate with an anything but loving kiss.