His hand, wet and clammy, reached for mine. I swiftly pulled my hand away, put it behind my back so he couldn’t grab it again. I averted my eyes from his searching gaze, not wanting him to see what I was feeling. I looked instead at the crumpled pink tissue paper lying beside me on the couch. I guess the gift was thoughtful but I felt awkward taking it. What did he expect in return? That’s the thing with gifts: they always come with expectations, with strings.
I felt him move closer to me, the warmth of his sweaty arm as he leaned in, his breath hot against my neck, reeking of onions even though he was smacking peppermint gum. I knew what he wanted, I’d sensed it all along. But I couldn’t. Instead, I pushed him away, reached into my pocket and pulled out my fire engine red lipstick. Stroking it on my lips was so much more sensual for me than his kiss. Satisfied, I picked up the gift and walked out the front door, cutting the string of obligation.
Susan Amodeo is a teacher and aspiring writer. She lives in Hamilton with her four energetic children and supportive husband. In her spare time (she doesn’t have much) Susan likes to read, bake, exercise and drink copious amounts of coffee.
See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.