Sunday, 29 June 2008
It's cool and dark as I jog home, my feet hitting the pavement in the new rhythm I've learned. My arms and legs ache from the effort I've put in at the gym, but the running is keeping them warm. It's maybe 10 degrees and the sweat is chilling as soon as it forms on my skin, evaporating off and raising goosebumps on the slick smoothness. If I slow down my muscles tighten in the cold, painfully, so I keep running, the whole way home, my breath uneven and heavy, catching occasionally.
I run through a spiders web and feel the stickiness bind across my cheek, brushing it away without breaking stride. Up the hill, through the shortcut and along the edge of the park. It's through here that the perfume of murraya sits in cloying clouds, so heady that I hold my breath trying to avoid the thickness of the scent. All around me syrupy as I run past the hedges heavy with blooms. I come to an intersection and have to stop for a car, feeling my calves tighten painfully, understanding now why joggers do that strange on the spot dance at traffic lights. On the other side of the road as I start again, less rhythmically and much more painfully the insistent sensuality of the murraya settles down and I can breathe more easily, catching only tastes of the scent instead of inhaling it.
I watch the stars in the winter bright sky looking for my favourite twinkling in her constellation, when I smell something that actually stops me so that I can find where its' coming from. A perfume as light and as sweet as the murraya was domineering and cloying. I walk towards the scent, transported 20 years earlier and drink it in, the honey that is wattle. My fingertips lightly brush the fronds of the tiny pompom flowers before I greedily bring a bough to my face so that I can bury myself in memory. The lightly pollenated softness caresses my cheek as I inhale deeply, sweetly intoxicated, alone in perfect memory.
I wonder where he is now, the boy that held my hand and took me to see the wattle tree, the first time I had ever seen the drifted tree in amongst winter frost. I remember the shyness and awareness of sharing something so beautiful with him. The look of wonder and happiness when I accepted his invitation to explore - the way that that tree and that loveliness set the standard for all boyfriends to follow and that so very few if any made. The simple act of taking me to see something so unearthly beautiful, so sweetly perfumed like so much of my childhood.
I stood there in the freezing night, my breath coming in steamfilled puffs under a starry sky as I wished with all my heart for the innocence and the perfume of that time. My legs contracting painfully as I stood, my eyes clear and glittering in the moonlight, marked by pain but also by the Gleam.