The Trouble With 4 A.M. Kisses


Read slowly.

4 a.m. kisses are never planned. I suppose that’s part of their trouble. We do not long for authentic passion when the darkness of night hasn’t quite gone, and daylight has not yet come. We do not dream of kisses that taste like whiskey drinks but confusingly sober us up. We do not wish to remember most of our 4 a.m. kisses where our state of mind is unclear; our senses, deceptive. But ever so often, a 4 a.m. kiss can feel like it’s supposed to save you.

But the trouble with 4 a.m. kisses is that they are not supposed to be honest. You’re not supposed to close your eyes as they happen. Your sense of self, already not quite as cautious or intentional or purposeful; you ought to remain as vigilant as possible. So when you find yourself lost in what is supposed to be a dishonest affection, lost in a way where nothing else but this moment feels more real, you begin to wonder if this 4 a.m. kiss could be the start of something true.

But the trouble with 4 a.m. kisses is that they’re supposed to leave you empty-handed. You’re supposed to have nothing more than a moment of weak human desire, a need for warmth, only intended to last a few seconds. And when these moments pass, you’re supposed to say goodbye and never wonder what happens afterwards. The pleasure is supposed to be gone as quickly as it came. So when these kisses leave you with hope, you begin to wonder about the possibility of this being the start of something new.

But the trouble with 4 a.m. kisses is that they always seem to fall short of the satisfaction your soul needs. Perhaps because there is a selfishness that you and the other person agree to at this late hour. So when this rule fails, when the moment, the act, the ambiance, becomes selfless, it leaves you flustered. It’s almost unfair because you walk away feeling vulnerable, powerless, fragile – no longer just wanting that moment a second time, but feeling like you must have it.

4 a.m. kisses are never perfect. And they’re never trying to be. When we think of them later, we are left bashful and self-conscious; sometimes even shaken as if the entire occurrence were just a figment of our imagination. Because we imagine that beautiful moments are supposed to happen at the right time and in the right place with a person who we think is right. But the trouble with 4 a.m. kisses is that the time, the place, and even the person is often unexpected. And sometimes it’s just unexpected enough for you to believe that something extraordinary happened. And whatever it was, you need it to happen again and again and again.

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