• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 07
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Pressing Petals

I’d showered seven times that evening. Seven times scoring my skin with a loofah, and yet this was still seven times too little. Nothing would shake the smell that lingered.
    Earlier that day, you twirled my hair with your fingers, dragging strands from behind my ears. I remember how they’d itched furiously as your skin made contact with mine. The hairs on my back stood erect and my body tightened.
    “Take that frown off your face, poppet,” you’d said, “it doesn’t suit you.”
    You then blew against my freckles, and the sickly sweet smell of fennel and mint echoed invisible rings around my face.
    You patted the bed linen with your hand, and your wedding ring glinted. I glanced at it for a moment, and as I did you grasped my knee with one hand and my face with the other. I winced as you forced your thumb into my skin, blood rushing to the surface and bruising magenta and mauve. Your stamp, your territory.
    When it was over, you left, and I didn’t say a word. I showered, and cleaned, and scrubbed, and sniffed, and sprayed the room with canned lavender.
    And still your stale fennel and mint clung in the fibres of the room, in the follicles of my skin, and it wasn’t until I stripped down to my underwear and looked at myself in the mirror that I stared at the bruising on my leg.
    It seemed to bloom like a wild rose and I shut my eyes and imagined you pressing petals into me, vines climbing and latticing like lovers.
    Suddenly, my bruise was beautiful, and all I could smell was sweet, sweet fennel and taste your fresh mint on my tongue.