Piquant was not the right word. There probably was no word to adequately encompass what she was feeling. If someone slowly pushed a needle, the diameter of a single, fallen hair, into her chest and gently set a vibration moving along it so that the pain was overlaid with a strange pleasure, like grasping for a happy memory on the edges of one’s ability to remember, it might come close to a description.
It was not the chest-crushing weight that hearing her sister say “Our daddy is dead” had set to swinging into her.
It was not the confused mingle of restrained emotion – like dancers all hearing different music – that had joined together at the back of her mind when her mother had finally let go of her vegetative body in the nursing home.
It might be something uniquely mated to the understanding that she had misunderstood her position in the world yet again, that what she had construed as belonging of a sort was really nothing of the kind.
It held familiarity, the realization that she had been here before and recognized herself in this place and contained threads of rue and guilt that she would find herself here again.
It held relief, as well. For once again she felt surety. In recognizing and accepting herself in this place – yet again – she felt tension leave her, anxiety sent to bed without its supper. While the world might continue to misunderstand her and she, in her desire to belong to it, might often misunderstand herself, this piquant pain would always be there; a vibration set along a hair-thin needle in her heart to remind her of her true self.