Our first kiss is supposed to happen with someone we’re hopelessly infatuated with. It’s supposed to be this magical moment where the mists swirl around us, the stars glimmer and wink, our hearts flutter and our bellies fill with butterflies. But reality isn’t ever quite so fairytale-like, and more often than not, our first time is far from a lovely dream — it’s more of a horrendous nightmare.

My first kiss was with a violent psychopath who went on to murder both his parents with a hammer before throwing a house party with their bodies stuffed away in the bedroom.

I met Tyler Hadley at the back of a barn-house where our summer camp was holding a dance. He and his two friends were sitting in the pitch dark on some weathered wooden lawn chairs when my two girlfriends and I approached them. My friends tried their flirtatious passes on his friends. Tyler was easily overlooked — he was short and plump, with stick straight hair and dookie brown eyes. He stayed completely silent as the girls bantered.

In a short time, my girlfriends had won over the boys and they disappeared into a nearby thicket to swap spit. I sat down beside Tyler and forced conversation. Getting a single sentence out of him was like pulling teeth.

A short time later, the two new couples re-emerged from the woods and were visibly upset when they realized Tyler and I hadn’t hit it off to the same extent they had. One of my girlfriends teased that Tyler and I should kiss. I thought about it for a moment — I wasn’t opposed. I glanced over at Tyler to gauge his reaction. His stoic expression revealed practically nothing: no excitement, no disgust.

The couples decided to escalate their peer pressure and began to chant, “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” I felt the blood rushing up to my cheeks. I looked over at Tyler to find that he had relented and was now leaning in towards me. I moved quickly and clumsily to close the gap between us. I nervously gained too much momentum and came crashing into his face. Our mouths met in an awkward collision that turned my body tense. I tried desperately to salvage the romance of the moment with a stroke of my tongue, but Tyler drew back and left me with my mouth open, my tongue massaging nothing but a cold night’s air.

Tyler and I didn’t speak again that night. My girlfriends and I ran off to our cabin, clambered up to the top of a bunk bed, and spent the night giggling under the covers.

A few days later, Tyler and I both had paintball scheduled for our daily activity. I waved eagerly and excitedly and got a cool, indifferent nod in return. My brief moment of acknowledgement vanished the instant Tyler was handed his weapon. His eyes shone with a childlike bewilderment as he filled the chamber with dozens of multicolored paint pellets. The wail of an air horn sounded off the start of the battle. The boys scattered in all possible directions, and within the blink of an eye I was entirely abandoned in an open clearing of wood — an innocent little lamb waiting for her turn to be slaughtered.

I sprinted toward a colossal tree for shelter, and had only progressed a couple of yards before bullets began biting at my flesh. I felt the blows on nearly every inch of my body. Bright blasts of blue, green and red ruptured against my neck and chest. Pellets of pink, yellow and black burst on my back and legs. The onslaught followed me until I dove behind the broad trunk of a tree and out of the line of fire. Several more pellets exploded on the base of the tree, then the gunfire abruptly ended.

My attacker had covered nearly every inch of my body in swollen, orb-shaped bruises that trickled blood. The sharp sting of each point of impact led me to believe my assailant was remarkably close by. While I searched the shrubs around me, he crept up behind me and eerily exhaled into my ear. At the same instant that I swirled around to face him, he lunged forward and gave me a forceful shove, his fingers digging into the wounds he had inflicted on my chest.

The shove sent me sprawling backwards. As I landed with a hard thud on the dirt, my attacker chuckled maliciously and sprinted into the woods. Despite the blurriness of the tears that had welled up in my eyes, I made out the figure with perfect clarity. That was the last time I ever saw Tyler.

photo - tyler hadley - psychopath - letter

Two years later, Tyler violently murdered both his parents. With them gone, he threw a house party with their bloodied bodies hidden away. The kids who showed up to the party said in court documents that Tyler didn’t seem anxious in the least. They say he took three pills of Ecstasy to calm his nerves. After that, he didn’t mind having his house trashed — cigarettes put out on the walls, missing picture frames, shattered beer bottles.

During a game of beer pong, according to witness reports, one of the balls bounced off the table and came to land in a puddle of a thick, sticky substance oozing out from underneath the bedroom door. The ball was mindlessly rinsed in the sink, and the game continued on.

photo - Tyler Hadley- Kiss of Death

Around 2:00 a.m., Tyler confessed to one of his best friends that he’d slaughtered his mother and father. His buddy enjoyed the party for a few hours longer, then called the police. After a brief search, the police found the bodies locked in the master bedroom, buried under dozens of blood-soaked towels. Tyler was dragged off to St. Lucie County Jail where he plead no contest to premeditated murder shortly thereafter. The prosecutors gave Tyler two life sentences.

My first sexual experience was far from the fantasy I previously envisioned. But I now know that I’m not the only one — most people’s first sexual encounters are awkward catastrophes devoid of any passion or lasting significance. I try to keep in mind that we’re only human, and we don’t always get things right the first time … or the second … or the third. But, anytime you feel weird about the person you just hooked up with, or ashamed, just be thankful it wasn’t with a deranged murderer who just as easily could have given you a kiss of death.