Some Sort of Apology

Mother may I. Mary may you? Heavenly father. Someone. It was the first time. My very first, swear. We were in Nevada. Okay Vegas. I wear the penitence around my neck like costume jewelry I once thought was beautiful. Sometimes people ask me if it’s real. I won’t ever tell. Sometimes I don’t even know myself. They say you can tell by the weight of the thing. I could wear this into shallow waves and drown myself, so I think they’re wrong.

I lost it. I wore it to a concert. It was loud. Crowded. Beer soaked, hazy-something-like-love in the air like smoke from a wildfire—makes sunsets incredible, but poison fills your lungs as you gaze lazily upon the beauty. I could feel sticky fingers pulling at my pockets, my wrists. Tugging, kissing—acts that confuse the line between love and hate. Everyone wanting a piece of me.

Someone probably stole it, the fake jewelry—that reproduction of something pretty and valuable—supposing it was real. I feel lighter now, but wonder: Is it around someone else’s neck, weighing them down? Did they know, when they put it on, carefully clasping it in the back, laying it just so on their body? The funny thing is that, like a ghost limb, I can still feel it sometimes. Knocking against my chest, heavy on my heart. But these days, I can go days without thinking about it. I’ve stopped going to church.

Jennifer Fliss is a Seattle-based fiction and essay writer. Her work has appeared in PANK, The Rumpus, Necessary Fiction, *82 Review, Hippocampus, and elsewhere. She can be found on Twitter at @writesforlife or www.jenniferflisscreative.com

See several more of her pieces in the Special 50/50 Issue