Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Where Beauty Rhymes with Vulnerability

He touched the ice rimming his plate of oysters, those poor little crystals, slowly deteriorating.  In his mind he saw her with her coat collar pulled up, framing her face, so indistinct, yet seemingly so warm and inviting, as little snowflakes graced her hair.  How sentimental he had become about her already, not knowing her at all, but letting himself muse on the delight of snowflakes caught in some grassy wave of her hair.  He smiled.  Oh, maybe it was the alcohol, but there was no harm in it either way.  Does thinking make it so?   How would it matter?  Thoughts swam in and out constantly.  Which stuck?  Which set up shop, as it were? 

He brought his fingers to his lips.  Suddenly a strong perfume of hyacinth so pungent and feminine startled him.  He looked around to see if someone had slipped up beside him unbeknownst, but he sat alone at the bar.  Where had he been, then?  He had gone to get some groceries after his trip to the hardware store.  What had he touched?  Fish, cream, coffee, a pack of mushrooms, a tin of tea.  The cashier?  He couldn’t picture her just yet.  Some dumpy woman, with dark strings of hair.  Were her hands slathered with such a strong scent?  Had they touched his?  A receipt passed between them.  That was all.

What scent would she wear?  His blue-robed oyster princess in the snow?  He brought his fingers back to his nose.  It was almost choking thick and sweet as a hothouse in spring:  now jasmine, now lilies.  He pulled back a little.  Just a touch here on his fingers could make him nostalgic for something as yet unknown, a swing of silk in a hallway.  But a whole pasture of it, a whole swath of a woman dripping in such scent—one wouldn’t be able to breathe.  His happy reverie was broken.  He had dark thoughts again.  Women were difficult.   He returned his attention to the oysters and ordered another drink.  

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