Midsummer's kiss


1. Midsummer's kiss

I know she’ll be there, sat by the fire, perhaps they are embers by now, waiting for me. Waiting in the excitement that she can finally assert her dominance over me. I’m stood, stock-still, on the edge looking over. The light tips the end of the day, kissing the horizon like her disapproving tight lips in the darkness. ‘Forget them’ your smile is so convincing that she’s instantly gone from my mind. You gently take my hand, and with a knowing sideways glance, you run me down the hill, towards the lakw, tranquil at the bottom. We ran so fast I thought we would take off, like soaring into a careless world with you. The lake comes closer and closer until we hit the freezing water. The icy lake washes over me legs and I keep running until I trip, laughing. Your hands grab my waist under the water, firm and strong, and you pull me towards you. Your chest is so warm against me and through your shirt I can feel your racing heart pounding against my shoulder blades. You let out an exasperated breath as you let me go – you can’t touch me. Everything in me screams for you to hold me again. Disappointment settles as you drift away from me. I know it should be now, this is my moment to show you. I reach for your hand through the water and catch your pinkie in the final light. You slowly turn towards me, a blank expression on your face. It is then that I know. Maybe it is the bright blood orange in your eyes, or the way your feelings are drawn all over your face. Maybe it is the way our fingers hook as if they are designed to hold the other or the way you jaw stiffens as you look at me. All of me. But I now know. I slowly, so slowly, lift your hand to my lips and kiss it gently. You’re speechless. I’m trembling slightly but I keep going. What are you thinking? Do you feel this sudden ignition in your chest as I do? A sudden heat in this frozen pool – do you sense it? You snatch your hand away and rinse it in the water, but your face gives you away. You look pained, physically strained by the whole event. You turn sharply and wade towards the bank without a backwards glance. I am stunned. I chase after you but you’re running now, towards the woods. I can’t see you, but sense you in the darkness as I follow, dazed, after you. It is so dark and quiet in the crowded forest. I listen for your footsteps. Nothing. I stumble over a log and reach for balance, catching a thick, tough tree trunk. 'Can you feel it? This is where we came, every summer, before you left. Do you remember? Can you feel out names in the bark?' I trace my finger over the engraving of my name and below is his. 'Did you engrave yours and his names in a tree?'. The voice is closer now. Much closer. You step over the log and touch my hand on the tree, outlining my fingers with yours. Your right hand folds into mine and I’m trapped, but cradled in your arms. You lift the hair from my neck and kiss it gently. I can feel your sharp teeth through your lips and shudder. My pulse quickens under the heat of your lips. Goosebumps prickle all over my skin. You reach your left arm up to steady yourself, delirious from my smell. Your thumb catches my ring. The kissing stops, teeth retract and you sigh into my neck. 'You need to go home.'. Like I said, she’s there in the darkness, silent fury. She turns to me and is ready to scream, to unleash hell on me. She knows where I’ve been, who I’ve been with. But instead, she laughs. Erupts into a fit of hysterics when she sees her daughter; a drowned cat, pooling in the doorway. Through her laughter she manages to say, 'Where is your left shoe?'.

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