A few steps away from the threshold where I was sitting embedded inside a time capsule. Staring outside at the glimpse of a rugged man, tumbling and fighting with the weight of his legs. He was our chemistry teacher from a couple of years ago. The man in a shell, a cracked shell, pushing himself forward against the weight of air as if fighting waves; flowing unfathomably in his way. His shoulders callously drooped forward as if burdened by the presence of a sudden emotional thought or a long lost memory. He shuddered his head to it as it lumped downwards unhinged by the lack of desire towards the pull of gravity. Yet another moment, he ascended it pulling himself out of death with an urge for survival. The flow of waves shifted him back and forth, making him flow slowly like a caterpillar. I heard last time that he had Alzheimer’s.  One cannot blame but a chemist losing his wife to multiple surgeries and malignancy of cancer to have a slightest wish for amnesia. The pain it delivers is poignant, scary and fatal. His lectures lingered into my mind bringing a memory clinging inside my head as if it were only yesterday.

‘Aspirin is the weakest drug’ he had said. His eyebrows drooping with the fine lines near his tear ducts turning into passages. Clear and adamant travelling as far as his forehead to disappear into his thoughts and then reappear with the slight twinkling of his eyes.
‘It is the weakest drug’ he had repeated with his voice trailing and flowing along irregular patterns. It is indeed. It is incapable of healing pain. Nostalgia or the emptiness it accompanies. It tampers pain, feeding its wretched thirst for swallowing a man. Slowly and adamantly until it replenishes more avidly to claim its presence at a newer level, as wild as a roaring lion or a sweet melody.

He passed eloquently in his thoughts a few paces away surrounded by the smells of medicines, chemicals and a dose of aspirin I must presume from the threshold where I was sitting. My eyes batted half-heartedly as my heart jolted in an intent to make an introduction or an informal hello.  A slight attempt for a formal greeting but it would have been irrelevant considering his condition. The idea dropped and the smell appeared once again of a familiarity the way it had zoomed before with the chemistry teacher. It was the smell of the air. It is where every scent came from, even the ones lost from the orchids.

I moved backwards flowing with waves to the day when the shop keeper behind the counter leered in my unknown presence. He looked at the older man with the young girl beside him wandering around in the generously lit showcase of expensive articles in his shop. It was weird how the counter was dimly lighted. It was where the money was counted, secretly and then tossed into a bundle where the earnings of all the other admirers were dumped. He passively eyed the tall man, his new customer and possibly the best of them all.

The tall man’s belly protruded with ages of money making and his hair was lost to extensive thinking, executive planning I must say. His waist was tightened harshly in his outfit to even out creases in a juvenile attempt to fake his energies. He was accompanied by a young girl, half his age. She walked behind him shyly entering the bright shop elegantly beatified by the glow of extra lights. She was pretty, marveled with a darker lip color that gave a wrong impression though that was negated visibly in her walk. Shabby and short steps in the long boots, she was eyeing the length of scents nestled in the crystal ledges. The tall man flew back and forth around her like a hawk, mastering as a pioneer of alchemy in scents. He sniffed, blew the fragrances in the air before him and smelled like a cat in search of its prey. The man behind the counter stared at the fatherly creature arrogantly impressing the awkward girl and bombarding her with the whiffs of crystal bottles. The little mademoiselle whilst unperturbed in his presence elegantly rejected and moved along the shelves with her sheer confidence and short steps. Her eyes wondering around racks in search of a magical scent. In search of a marvel of alchemy, void of the odors of chemicals. A formula discreet and magical, baked in hush hours on scented moors or in the drizzle of morning rains, fabricated by the color of rainbows clinging to the last remnants of sunrays or more vividly a secret potion of love. Her eyes shone by an inner energy coupled with melancholy as she wondered at the endless row of colorful aromatic solutions transparent and blue, claimed to be perfumes by the man behind the counter. The tall man meanwhile confident but vulnerable and in dire need of a lustful panoramic love blew nozzles of aromas in the air before her as her mind dozed off and numbed to it. Her sense of smell giving up. In the midst of this unfortunate tale of unrequited love stood the counter guy staring mercilessly at the young girl flying like a bunting from flower to flower in search of love. The tall man in all his high attire and wealthy perfection followed suit. He stared and stared in a desire to the tall man’s pocket or pitied the two unfortunate souls. He stared with his eyes hollow like a loveless soul incapable of love. Dark, his eyes made the young girl tremble as she looked away while the tall man paid with his credit card for his scents. The ones he had chosen while her eyes lingered somewhere on the racks and then on the man behind the counter with his merciless stares.

The chemistry teacher had passed like ages ago with his waves of chemical air leaving trails of soaked sand in the air. It smelled like the aroma of life. Drenched as the grains of soil brings the dead to life and with the power of its smell, it grows and turns into tall trees with fruit as sweet as almonds and sour as figs.

There was love in her eyes when the night fell as the sun fell somewhere into a deep pit of dark. The wealth of the world was lost and even the diamond and gold couldn’t glitter as the source was gone. It was the time for love and ways otherwise abhorred. I passed the hallway of my dorm somewhere in the middle of my bachelor’s degree when the timid of all souls were inhibited by love. A girl so small and skinny was lurking by the corner of the corridor, smiling all by herself with no soul to accompany. Her hair long and loose and her fingers rolling the tips of her lose strands. She tossed casually, forward and backward like a pendulum at the end of the hallway. Sniffing as she did, not even turning, rather in an urgency. She swung to and fro with the corridor and then sung in a melodious voice with a reminiscent smile on her face. The familiar scent of a person known had flown somewhere to dwell the corner that spun her like a mystic in the small corner.

The sun in the lawn outside the door drifted apart showing a dense array of clouds cascading in the sky as I sat a few paces away from the threshold. The college with the high ceilings and endless rows of classrooms kept rolling back and forth in years.

The dorm room once again bathed into a dark but visible chamber where she stood amidst the room staring endlessly at the small attic behind the bed. In the top shelf of the attic was a glossy bag scribbled with fancy words and inside a box of card and Styrofoam, there was a bottle. A crystal bottle of shining liquid. The scent of love trapped inside a bottle. It had in a matter of a comprehensive period of time acquired a form of love that she carried everywhere. In love and in utter vulnerability had the scent become a need for her presence, because it reminded her dearly of someone. She sprayed it in her bed every night and it gave her dreams of her loved one. Giggling and trembling, she approached the attic as if it were her lover awaiting her at the other end.

I looked outside as the clouds drew closer and the damp smell in the air succumbed to the dusty rise of the mist that filled my nostrils to the brim with mud and I sneezed once again with the absence yet presence of too much of aroma inside my nostrils or memories I must say.

***

She flared with rage masquerading the room in her shorts and a messy hair bun. Her eyes soggy and sore. Pacing back and forth with the piece of paper scrambled in her hand. She tore it apart throwing it on the table. Her eyes wonderlessly fixed on the familiar part of the locked attic on the cloudy day while the curtains were heavily drawn to intensify the insides of the dorm room. She moved quickly in short steps towards the attic door and drew out the glossy covering still draped around the box with the Styrofoam and the bottled form of bitter sweet love. She moved back and in one quick motion without a thought, smashed the bottle on the floor. The liquid never settled as if minced into the air around her and she sneezed with the extravagance of lost love around her. The love fermented around her, saturating the air and then her lungs, heart and a part of her brain that became numb forever to that particular scent.

The clouds wondered aimlessly as I looked outside the staffroom awaiting my child and thought about the girl who sniffed the scent I was numb to outside the corner of the familiar room. The slight dark intensified the figure of the chemistry teacher as I walked my shabby short steps towards the window aisle. A few steps short of the threshold and looked aimlessly into the flowerless gardens.

‘Aspirin indeed is a poor drug’ I imitated him and a frown settled upon my face as diligent as a map.

 

 

 

About the Author

SaaraSamin

 

I am an aspiring writer, blogger, and poet. I write poetry and prose and a hybrid of both for the obituaries of my thoughts. I am currently looking for a publisher for my novel manuscript In the Mirror whilst working on my second The Storyteller.