The hours we have spent together exploring this other world, is the life I have now chosen to lead, both in and out of the sanctuary we have created. It has become a way of being that has permeated my every thought and action, and so I have become a slave to what I always knew was inside me but for so many years shied away from.
Your potency is addictive, your fervent nature intoxicating and now, almost against my will, can I only be yours.
As I open the door to you, the unique scent that I have become so familiar with pervades my senses. A combination of fragrances that are exquisite; smoky tobacco infused with exotic incense, sensual amber and just a hint of leather create a velvety perfume that always adds to the seductive qualities of our evenings.
You smile, affirming your pleasure that I have carried out your instructions to the last minutiae and been so very careful to choose the garments and adornments that please you. In return you bring your own offering – in one hand blood red roses, their colour a reminder of what lies ahead, and in the other your personal preference; a freshly cut bamboo cane.
The parameters I set myself are always the same. The solitude I seek a necessary need in order to fully embrace the creative process. I allow myself this private time, away from everyone I hold dear in order to evolve. My senses alter, heightened by the lack of distraction as I feel every cell in my body calm. I still my mind, enabling the emotional balance to gently take hold. At last I am focused.
The subliminal and dormant expressions that are all too often elusive. An emotive journey that unfolds, moment by moment, culminating in indescribable, harmonious bliss.
This is the place I am most free. Neither tethered by thought nor action but simply being. My breath slows, the inhalation barely registering, the exhalation comfortingly rhythmic. The sensation that manifests is so difficult to describe and always fleeting, but leaves me with an undoubting knowledge that I am connected to every single thing. There is no difference between you and I, for you are me and I am you. There are only pure emotions that are beautiful by which I am engulfed.
I cannot determine for how long I am in this moment, but as always occurs I begin to slip away from it, only able to glimpse and feel it momentarily. My senses reawaken as the pull of time returns and as I do, I inhale a scent. So fragrant. So familiar.
Discovering the unknown to form memories that make up the tapestry of my life has been a need that never leaves. Always in the days before I depart I sense the anticipation increasing, the planning of my journey filling me with excitement. I wonder who I may meet as I glimpse into the lives of others, the conversations to be had, the shared, fleeting moments to be experienced, embarking on this solo travel.
Stepping from the plane being bathed in hot sunshine makes my heart sing. Finally after months of imagining this, it has become a reality; I am here. After a year of living a solitarily existence, moving through the crowds and finding my way into the city is exhilarating. The pace and activity feel wonderfully stimulating, as my senses are bombarded with fresh sounds and sights. Everywhere I look there is a different vista to behold.
The hint of aromatics blend with fresh rose, jasmine and mandarin that overwhelm my olfactory sense. I close my eyes and allow the moment to wash over me unable to contain my smile. The elation almost too much, for this is my new home. And I am ready to welcome all that is being offered.
Light hearted in essence and possibly fleeting in nature, I look back and realise it was this day that would change everything that was known. I was about to step into a new dimension and welcome in, as yet, undiscovered experiences.
Even then your persuasive power over me was evident. The decision made, the nervous excitement infused my cells and as the afternoon leaned into the darkness of the evening, the sensation became more and more palpable.
I took my time, slowly choosing the outfit to wear, elegant but inviting. Making my way to the place we had chosen to meet I walked past you in the street and for an instant, our eyes met. It took me aback, but uncertain of definite recognition I carried on. A few paces ahead I turned around to see if it had been you and if indeed you were following, only to be perplexed that you were nowhere to be seen. I continued, and settled myself at an advantageous position in the venue able to watch the door. Moments passed, my heart beating hard and then in you walked.
As we embraced for the first time I breathed in your essence, a scent I have never before nor ever since have known. The fragrance synonymous with who you are, heady, all-consuming and magnetic. A scent I can never eradicate from memory, nor relate to another person. It is infinitely and forever yours. The sensation I felt from that first touch coursed through my being and I knew in an instant..
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.
Embracing the small pleasures has always been integral to my life, though it has taken many years to allow myself to stop and appreciate the moments in-between the grey that is neither black nor white, simple nor complicated, illicit nor pure.
I take my time, familiar with this ritual, knowing the gratification it will give. The unwrapping of the fine, crisp paper, unearthing this treasure of traditional craftsmanship.
The weight in my hand is reassuring as one by one I use the items I need to buff and polish, teasing the material into a glossy shine.
Satisfied with my work and pleased with the balanced pieces of adornment I have chosen, I step out into the cool dusk. I note the hues of the season match my choice of footwear and I smile at the thought that this old,personal custom will soon bemarried to a new experience, the communion of which will be shared with you.
The sound of leaves and natures offerings underfoot are enhanced by the fragrance I’ve chosen to wear that offers hints of woody labdanum, delicate sandalwood and spicy patchouli, all gently warmed by delectable notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove.The richhint of aromatic honeyleading to a musky crescendo– the perfect perfume for this misty, mellow Autumn evening.
Walking to our meeting place, my thoughts turn to the words I intend to use to ask you a question I have never uttered before. And before you see me, I see you, and as is always the case am struck by your natural exquisiteness, for there is no better word I can conjure to describe you.
I can feel the tempo of my heartbeat increasing, can perceive my olfactory nerves expanding and my pupils dilating. But most of all you bombard my mind, as one neuron flows to another across my brain synapses, creating a single thought; pure admiration.
During our former years you were all kinds of temptation. I felt you solely held the lit fuse and that I would forever be ready to burn, to ignite. But with the passing of time and mellowing of feelings I now embrace a deeper level of complete comfort. Because only with you can I be my true self, a gift you have so graciously bestowed upon me and for which I will be continually thankful.
You have taught me hallowed empathy. The chance to look within myself and eradicate my ego that for so many years hijacked my decisions. A selfishness we are all born with, but must banish to reach a higher level of being.
To declare you have changed me for the better, inspired me to push my once tethered boundaries and welcome the expansiveness I now know is possible, is the gift I give in return. And so there is no better word I can aptly betroth upon you than H.E.R.
The powerful, stripped back simplicity of these three letters are an homage to your complexity, your beauty, your strength. Over time I know my reverence for you will only increase as we witness our conjoined emotional development.
Day after day the seasons provide a sensory experience and I note the almost imperceptible changes as gradually winter transforms to spring. The heightened warmth of the sun encourages the flowers to begin their bloom, as life is teased from its cold sanctuary.
These are the times I cherish, as the sun pricks my skin and the hazy vista stretches out ahead of me, I can drift and daydream. I run my hands through the foliage that adorns the path and pluck a perfectly formed flower so delicate in detail. The dark green leaves and white petals juxtapose creating an elegant offering. Its scent sweet and vibrant, aromatic and fresh that induces an olfactory memory of you that borders on sensual hedonism. You’ve always worn the same fragrance that I recognise no matter how long we are apart. Even its name, Naked Neroli, like you, is suggestively alluring and enticing.
The sun begins its descent on the horizon and the shadows on the ground tell me it’s time to turn back, I wonder how my life would have evolved if I’d lacked the courage to become a true creator. If I had simply let it push and pull me wherever it wanted to. I inhale the cool air and exhale quiet contentment and turning the last corner, see you standing at the door, smiling.
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.