Today I took a leisurely walk into town to smell her perfume. Before the clerk gave it to me I knew not what to expect and the pessimist within me feared the worst. The clerk slowly reached her hand towards me and presented me with the scent on a thin, white strip of cardboard. Tentatively at first, I held it to my nose and inhaled her aroma.

At first I did not recognise the fragrance because it had been so long since I had last been around hope – let alone taken the time to stop and smell it. But there it was, clear as day, on the end of that piece of cardboard, just daring me to take another sniff.

“Go on. Be brave. It’ll be okay.”

I held my nose over that thin strip of hope again and breathed her scent in deeper and this time noticed other elements to the fragrance that I had previously missed – so shocked had I been initially to smell hope. It smelled of endless potential, of wonder, of far away countries waiting to be discovered and companionship. Surely there had been some mistake? Was I really allowed to smell this – was I allowed to indulge such happy thoughts once more? Dreaming can be so dangerous! I heard her gentle, reassuring voice again – calling out to me from across the deepest seas:

“It’s fine to dream again. Close your eyes now. I’m your friend and I’ll still be with you when you wake up. I understand and I’ll be patient.”

Having discovered this intoxicating perfume, did I take the time to smell every other scent in the store – asking the clerk to patiently escort me around them all and allow me to inhale all the myriad fragrances on display? No, for there was no need. Despite the interestingly shaped bottles and the exotic labels that they were all cloaked with, I knew that it’s what’s inside that counts and within this one perfume I had found all I needed.

Ever so carefully, I placed that delicate line of hope and wonder into my pocket and walked home – feeling a touch lighter than before. The next time I spoke to her, she asked me what I thought of the perfume. I replied:

“Yes, it’s really nice.”

For I am a guy after all and we are not very good at expressing our emotions with words.

Copyright © 2015 Philip Craddock. All rights reserved.


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