You’re sitting in an enclosure of lush greenery. You’re absorbing your surroundings. You suddenly become aware of a faint smell. You caress the lavender behind you and snatch it in your hands so that you can be encompassed in its scent. You steal it away violently and selfishly. The smell is intoxicating. You want to be engulfed in it. Even when you are at a distance you want the scent to linger, although it will be more soft and subdued. Later that day, you’re about to toss your shirt into the wash basket when your senses are abruptly tickled by the scent you thought you lost. Not only is it stimulating your sense of smell but it awakens other forces within you. It brings a smile to your face when you think of sitting amongst those trees. It brings you to your childhood home with your first perfume. It was mauve and slightly hourglass with that oddly-curved bottle. It had that eccentric packaging and that sweet yet musky lavender inspired scent. It reminds you of that day spa you went to with your friends. You think of the luxury, the pampering, the giggling and most importantly that sense of belonging. Everything was right in the world. It invokes a sense of satisfaction with a hint of longing. You can see the leaves and feel it on your skin.
You go about your routine the next day. You’re sitting amongst your friends but their words are a background noise. You’re more focused on everything around you. Your thoughts are dithering and are in an excitable state as you observe the groups of people. Each clique is a story and dynamic of their own. You look at the smiles, the gestures, the ones that are engaged and the ones who stare into open spaces. You suddenly spot the glamorous figure on the opposite end of the room. He stands there nonchalant, effortless in his motions. Your eyes feel a gravitational pull towards his face and you provide little opposing force. With the helpless collapse into his magnetic presence, you know that you are in trouble. You have fallen into lust.
It’s always strange how you can plunge irrepressibly into a state of feeling. A first encounter with a stranger can invoke a multitude of sensations. You’re a balancing act of nerves, exhilaration, joy and fear. Who exactly is this person that you desire? He is a coy smile with dimpled cheeks. He is a charming smirk gleaming with a hint of self-assurance. He is a tuft of stylish and effortless bed hair. He has a defined bone structure and a towering height that gives him even more prominence.
Your affection is self-centred. He is only what you want him to be. Through your eyes, he is no longer the person that he truly is. He is a picturesque representation of an idea that you have. You have stolen him away from himself, selfishly and impulsively. You want him to bring you to a place of new possibilities but with that same nostalgic sense of belonging. You think of the wave of emotions that hit you the first time you spoke. You want it back. You want to be immersed in the currents of bliss and sink in the waters of the joyously unknown. You were outside of your body, unable to facilitate or comprehend your own actions. You want to look into his smile. No matter how many times you memorise his features, each glance brings something new and exciting. The fervour he invokes is addictive yet you know that your feelings are narcissistic.
And it doesn’t make sense. How can intentions so pure and admiring be selfish? You have parts of yourself to give. They are parts that you cherish; parts that you know are unique, valuable and worthy. You know that you have something to give, something that should be appreciated and acknowledged. You are important. You have things to say. Yet he can’t see any of these things. He’s immune to your light. Even if you can’t illuminate his world, you possess a luminosity that can’t be ignored.
He, himself is not yours. The glint you see in his face is yours. The warmth and ardour is yours. How troubling that a spark can be lit, only to be extinguished before its flame has the chance to start a fire. That fire would be shared between the both of you. It would be internal as your personal connection and external as the display of affection that everybody else would see – except that spark is yours alone. He is someone that you lionise, not someone that you love.
On a seemingly arbitrary day, you meet him again. There is a delay in your eyes. You need to shift your focus to realign yourself to this image of a person that you thought you knew so well. You look for that glint. It’s half there, flickering in the corner of his eye but not as glaring as you recall it. You speak briefly. There is something of a nostalgic flutter in your chest but it’s repressed. It’s trying to break free but is trapped in the memory of a sentiment.
You go home. You look in the mirror. You see something new in your expression. Perhaps it was always there? Maybe you’re witnessing a self-contained sense of belonging. You’re reclaiming yourself, basking in the knowledge that there is so much more to experience. There are other sparks to be ignited. There are flames still yet to burn. Suddenly your senses are tickled by a feeling that you thought you lost. As fleeting as moments are, erratic in chance and circumstance, your feelings are your own. Your life is your own.