The Sourness of Kisses Past by Michelle Matheson
Sometimes a gift is just a gift; sometimes it is a cry for forgiveness.
I hold the amber in my hand, the insect frozen in its centre. I turn it over searching for the answer to an unspoken question. It is a beautiful thing, a love token I suppose. The rounded shape fits my palm perfectly and it’s the exact temperature of my blood. If I close my eyes I hardly know it is there at all.
Once upon a time, limbs were flung wide, bodies strained and breath was rapid, almost rabid with desire. But they were not my limbs; it was not my breath. I was side lined. Since then I have subsisted in an alternate universe where neither heat nor cold exist. This world is grey.
And now this gift, this peace offering. But where is the pleasure? Instead the air is suctioned from the room and my lungs will not expand to fill my diaphragm. I search for the green scent of resin but there is no longer any hint. Helplessness hangs limp upon me. The sourness of kisses past lingers on my tongue. Amber shackles loom, ready to chain me to a history that I no longer cherish.
And all at once I feel the rush of blood coursing through my veins, as inevitable as the tide but twice as fierce, a tsunami of fury.
I gaze into the amber, and know I am reflected in its golden glow. The dying buzz of the insect is trapped within, heralding my future. I allow the globe to drop from my fingers and shatter.
Sometimes a gift is the tie that binds.