Monday, January 2, 2017

Incense (Short Story)

She gave him a quick kiss goodbye and stepped out of his car. She got into hers and, with a sad wave, disappeared into the night.

The scent of her perfume lingered. He sat silently on the driver’s seat, trying desperately to control his emotions. With slow, deliberate movements, he turned off the radio and closed his eyes.

She held his hand tight as they walked through the botanical gardens. It was hot that day. Beads of sweat rolled down his back and his forehead. It didn’t matter. He was happy. As they strolled down the path that bordered the small lake at the center of the garden, she was smiling. It was the most fantastic smile he had ever seen. A starburst of joy and pleasure. It was happiness made movement by a pair of gorgeous lips. He realized then that it he was inside one of those moments that you never, ever want to end. As she blissfully chatted about a million things, he remained silent. He had nothing to say. Her smile said everything.

He slumped back to the driver’s seat while taking a deep breath, savoring her scent. He suddenly realized he didn’t even know the name of her perfume. Once gone, the memory might forever be lost. He couldn’t decide whether this was a good thing or bad.

Her laughter filled the half empty Japanese restaurant. She had a quick, delightful laugh. It was one of the greatest sounds he had ever heard. He offered his hand across the table. Without hesitation, she took it. She smiled at him. An indescribable warmth gripped his arm, his chest and his heart. He smiled back at her and wondered what words could he say. He wondered what phrases he could muster to describe how he felt. He was painfully aware of the mistakes of the past. He worried whether she would think him a fool, a hopeless romantic or just a fucking creep.

He sat in silence for a couple of heartbeats, trying to decide whether her lingering perfume offered him joy or pain. His finger rested on the A/C controls. If he opened the vent, her smell would immediately disappear into the ether. If he didn’t, it would linger for, maybe, a few more minutes.

Her perfume melded with sweat, passion and lust. It made a unique scent that threatened to become addictive. Even at that moment, enthralled by that precise moment of deep, physical hunger, he made the conscious decision that this was the scent that he wanted. In a moment of pure romanticism, escapism and complete abandon of logical thought, he chose this essence as  the last one he would ever need or want.

After making a decision, he placed both of this hands on the steering wheel. As he shifted the car to reverse, he looked at himself in the rearview mirror.


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