I experienced my first crush in years last week... that predatory old monster in my belly has been quiescent so long I thought she was gone for ever, or at least tamed into easy domesticity: but she stirred last week, and her eyes still burn.

It was the five whole days away from home that did it: I found myself alone and free in a place dense with memories of a gloriously misspent youth, surrounded by exciting strangers and comfortable in the knowledge I probably wouldn't ever see most of them again. I was always a sucker for the same deceitful promise -- an uncomplicated erotic interlude, no strings attached -- and so it was this time.

He was what I have come to recognise as just my type: thin, guarded, fine-featured, with translucent skin and a certain darkness or brooding quality about the eyes that hints at a passionate nature. If I were single I would have jumped this boy's elegant bones by Day 3: as it was I made polite conversation by day, and was careful not to drink too much. I don't think he had any inkling of the role his long mouth and careful fingers played in the webs of elaborate fantasy I spun alone late at night, all centred on the same moment: that impossible, unbearable, electric moment of the first kiss.

The first kiss is the moment of perfect potential, it contains all possibilities; it's suspended at the lip of a waterfall or the crest of a wave; it's the dizzying instant before the floodgates are opened. The liquid flame it ignites in my belly (maybe yours, too) is not just lust, it's vertigo, the sudden glimpse of infinity and the promise that this time, perhaps, it will change everything.

It never does, of course: the possibilities all fade, sooner or later, in the light of real human grapplings with a real human other, which have a deep beauty of their own... and it's all good and I wouldn't want it otherwise, but... I'd give a lot to have that first incandescent kiss.