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.
This is how you saw me, though I never knew it at the time. It was only years later you would explain it was your desire to fully understand me that had changed the trajectory of your entire life. Your confession was surprising and intriguing and I had pressed you to explain further. You were quiet for a time, contemplative and when you spoke again, thoughtful with your words.
Your eyes shone with a passion for your life’s work as you continued, “I’ve dedicated myself to discovering the ultimate perfumed elixir. Imagine having the sensory world at your fingertips, the limitless combinations and each one creates a totally unique effect. It’s a never- ending quest because just one more drop of fresh and lively bergamot or two more drops of heady and sensual rose alters the aroma entirely. And there are so many wondrous botanical scents to play with – sweet patchouli, exotic amber, mellow sandalwood and fragrant incense that culminate in a gorgeous floral accord, or spicy black pepper, warm lavender, flowery jasmine and sensual musk that create a deliciously smoky scent….” You trailed off, your internal thoughts drifting to a place I couldn’t follow, but when you turned your gaze back to me I could once again see the clarity in your eyes.
Your statement hung in the air between us, the explanation uplifting me, giving me a new perspective. A parting gift so liberating because finally, I understood; to possess a dichotomous nature is not a hindrance but in fact a thing of beauty.
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