You were the one who opened me to this gift of peaceful harmony I now embrace as my daily life. I had thought I was content, leading a regulated existence dictated by societies ideal of norm. But during those hours of conversation you had awakened me to other possibilities.
I had expanded my imagination to welcome the unknown and removed myself from the stifling discomfort of routine. And with both fear and excitement I began my pursuit of the creativity I had long held.
It was a journey I took, not knowing the destination nor the experiences that would be brought forth, but with the staunch belief I would receive all that I needed. Looking back the path is so clear, as I comprehend how each individual forward momentum has played an integral part. For it has brought me closer to this sense of utopia. Even the hardships have been welcomed, for the plentitude of rewards that have been bestowed upon me have far exceeded my expectations.
And so I find myself here, embraced by nature’s bounty knowing I will never replace it with man-made confinement. The beauty is too exquisite to pass over. My senses are enlivened and my emotions heightened. It has become a part of me, or me a part of it. Each day I feel myself renewing as I absorb the colours, sounds, sights and smells that surround me.
The seasons enchant me with their individual offerings; the scent of vibrant orange blossom in the Spring as the delicate white flowers exude their intoxicating fragrance. Summer and the heavy sweet aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle and rose merge with the days heat. Autumn has become synonymous with cedar wood, the musky pungency filling the air, and winter is cool, smoky and laden with incense, nutmeg and clove.
The immediate need I felt for you unnerved me; a desire so masochistic in essence for I knew our time was painfully limited. And who was I to own you, to hold you, to keep you? Yet my insistent longing superseded all logic.
During those times I would find solace at the shore, as the soothing, gentle waves would caress the soles of my feet, their hypnotic rhythm reminding me of the way you moved, so free and light. I would return with small offerings to please you, tiny tokens of my deeply rooted affection – a single pressed flower, a shell from the beach, a fragrance that reminded me of your musky, floral scent,strikingly exotic and deliciously animalistic.
I thought if I offered you all of me, you would stay and turn from your calling. My single wish that we remain cocooned in this illusion, but you were single minded in your choice,as if I had simply been a dalliance, a timely distraction, a summer muse. Your departure left me ripped and torn and now I wander to the water’s edge and welcome the ocean. I wade into the waves and allow their violent pummelling against my body, offering me some feeble form of relief.
It had never been our intention, but as the months passed the tone of our correspondence changed as we had grown to know one another.
The overly professional formality slipped away, replaced by a friendly rapport and it became evident there was a mutual mental attraction. We shared stories about our lives, our travels, the similarities of our experiences both striking and comforting.
A statement that resonated so deeply it made me feel completely opaque, my surface layers stripped away to a place no-one had ever seen before.
The palpable excitement I felt the first time we met was barely containable. Theimmediate fluidity of our conversation translated to tactile affection; a light touch on my arm, a hand placed at the small of my back,so innocently given, yet electrifyinglyreceived. Even your smell invoked a forgotten memory, a familiarity I couldn’t place but immediately recognised– a combination of spicy patchouli withdelectable notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, aromas I have grown to cherish.
We would amble through the charming streets frequented only by locals, visiting the tucked away tavernas you knew, while talking late into the warm evenings.
And so I write this as I begin the final journey that will bring me to your side. The place I belong, the place my life makes sense, the place I call home, because before I even knew, it was always with you.
For years I had watched you covet this gem of an automobile and it hadn’t escaped my attention this particular model was manufactured in the year you were born; as you had so often told me, timing is everything.
And of all the cars ever designed I could see why this was still deemed the most beautiful. You opened the door, inviting me to step in. The bespoke leather interior you had chosen had smelt brand new and though luxuriously soft to the touch, it hadn’t yet had the chance to yield to my shape.Before starting the engine I watched as you took your time appreciating the craftsmanship; the delicate stitching and emblem on the steering wheel, the understated styling of the dials, the reassuring strength and ergonomic design of the handbrake.
I hadn’t understood why you wanted that first drive to be at dawn, taking the route I was so familiar with, left down Bowmont, along Montague and up toward the crest of the botanical gardens. As we reached the summit the convertible had purred, fully capable in its ability and the city skyline had opened up in front of us. Even at that time in the morning the sun rise had begun to warm the city, the ochre yellow and burnt orange hues had dazzled
I remember inhaling slowly and deeply, noting your signature scent that somehow reflected this sleek machine; your maturity deepened by experience, your natural and easy confidence. From memory I could pick out smoky traces of cedarwood and musk, something warm like lavender, a citrus freshness, perhaps lime.
There was little need to even talk, it was enough to just be in your presence. Those nights when the incessant thrum of the city would quieten, the sunset would envelop the skyline and you’d take my hand, leading me to the river. The sensuality of the water would reflect the dusky light, the constant shifting of shapes and soft colours were so mesmerising.
On we would amble, listening to the sway of the water through the reeds. The motion keeping time with the lacing and unlacing of fingers, our pace gently in sync, you slowing, to play out the delay.
That first time I didn’t know where you were leading me a place so botanically rich and varied it induced a sensory explosion. You taught me how to inhale the perfumes the garden so willingly offered up, lingering over the different varieties of flowers that created such heady scents. All these years later I can still reel off your favourites; sandalwood, bergamot, amber, orange.
But it’s your scent that I still long for, indescribable in essence yet so deeply ingrained in my memory, the subtle balance of tonka, vanilla and musk….
Over and over I’ve repeated these words, trying to conjure you to my present time. Only once have I been caught completely unaware by an aroma so familiar it transported me back to those summer evenings. The place where we dreamed together, where we truly lived; our private garden you told me.