Making lip balm is fairly simple- one part beeswax, two parts coconut oil, two parts honey.
I melt the ingredients, then keep the molten mixture in the fridge to cool. The top layer solidifies first.
I press my finger into it- so fragile, so tender- and break in. The gooey, half-molten sea underneath floods the surface. When it’s fully solid, I take it out of the fridge and keep the tubes in a drawer.
I use the lip balm with all the fervour of a religious zealot. I take it with me everywhere. To my friend’s house, to the grocery market, to the beach. When my friends and I walk back home late one night, nearly running from the lewd gazes of two construction workers, we joke that it’s the lip-balm that saved us.
My precious balm takes on a new meaning. Becomes more than itself.
When I’m done with the first tube, I return to the drawer to replace it.
Humming, I take off the plastic cover. Press this new, virgin balm to my lips.
It’s only when something skittles across my hand that I see it. Ants. Hundreds of them. Crawling over the balm so densely, they make an extra cover, red and glistening.
I rush to the bathroom, rub water over my face. I spit several times. I think of swallowing their treacherous, tiny bodies.
At night, I lie sleepless for hours. I feel the phantom tingling of tiny ant legs on my lips again, love bites stinging tender skin. Leaving marks behind.
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