The Love Scent
Peppermint and Orange. That smell should be fermented into the walls and soaked into the bedsheets. It was a sweet and loving smell. As I saw her that night, all of her, I knew what I had missed. Well, what I had almost missed. Her smell, that sharpness of peppermint but with the sweetness of citrus.
It had been the end of spring break when I first saw her, autumn leaves covering almost every inch of her. As though she were one of the thousands of trees, all except this one stood in solitude. This one was just asleep. But her red hair was as beautiful as all those leaves, draped around her. It was a smell that drove me towards her, a blooming flower. A fruit. Like a bee, I was entranced by her nature. A flower young, nature’s bloom.
Things went fast from there. They started as: “Hey, I saw you laying there by those trees. What were you dreaming about?”
“Oh, hey. Nothing much, just in my own world. One other than this, one where everything would be backwards there.”
She was odd, too odd. Most people hated it. They didn’t understand. She was odd. I loved it. There wasn’t anything more to understand.
Things got faster from there. Faster from “Hey, can I see you after school? Maybe get coffee and study up on this new assignment?” To things like “you know just what to say” or, “I can trust you with anything.” Weeks went by, and we were inseparable. She was all the strangeness of the world at arm’s reach. She was the thing I never quite realised I needed.
We thought we were fast, but the world got faster.
Study ended, school ended. Jobs began, bills appeared. Asher had happened. And it was amazing. It was calm, but somewhat fun. We had the drive to get all our dreams done. He gave me the power to reach for the stars. New dreams came, but she stayed.
She tried too. To fit into a world like this. The schools never loved her, the bars were never where she wanted to be, but they found her, one way or another.
I got busy, things got tough. Ash made them easier, he was good like that. I stuck around him, drifted away from her. He was fun, but I craved a particular crazy that didn’t come with nights out or boozy afternoons.
It had been 5 months since her and I last spoke. I found myself taking a different way to work. Past a few book stores, old houses for sale, cafes. Then, past her. Her hair was the warmest fire my heart had ever seen. Yet her eyes were low and devoid of colour or wonder.
It was supposed to be a quick catch up. Those minutes had turned to desperation, crises of longing. There was a sharpness to her now, razor edges surrounded her. The earthy smell anchored her to everyone else’s level. She had blossomed once, now grown to wither. The slight menthol aroma floated around her. Withered and grown sharp.
No one understood, none of them ever cared to. I did, I had always cared. She needed me, more than Ash.
So it changed into a walk home, I had always traced my steps every time I left her place.
This was met with gentle tears. I held her up, told her she needed help.
All she said was “No. I need you.”
That night I lay on top of her, hands in lock. We were more, this is all we ever needed. Ash wouldn’t know, it would kill him. I’d have killed him if he ever knew this. But I knew this was who I was.
She laughed hard and pulled me close. Her grip was prickly with years of being at the cliff edge. She whispered.
“I am glad I found you, you’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever known.”
To her. I was pretty to her. All I have ever wanted to hear. She was sweet but sharp, I was always sour, yet still tender.
Life made us like that.
Life makes you bloom.