The kids had fallen asleep. It was peaceful, dark and cosy in the bedroom. I like this time of the day when there are no more chores, the laptop has been put to rest and I can be ‘me’, relieved of my duties as ‘mother of two’. He was expected to come home late after a daylong conference and dinner at a hotel.
I was blissfully reading The Forty Rules of Love, a book so luxurious and elegant that your life melts as you enter into the lives of the characters, mainly, Shams of Tabriz (a dervish), Rumi the Sufi poet, writer Aziz and a wife and mother in the current day and age, Ella. Right from the beginning I could most clearly picture Ella, her life as a wife and mother of two.
I had nodded off to sleep while reading about Ella finding out about her cheating husband and her not feeling the need to confront him, even after several hints about his promiscuity. Even without my realising I had drifted off somewhere between sleep and waking, where reality and dreams morph into a weird state of trance.
I woke up to my reality with a start only when my phone rang and he was at the door. I opened the door with a smile and offered him a glass of water.
There was a distinct and powerful smell of perfume, too flowery and sweet smelling for a man. It was definitely not what he usually wears.
Not able to ignore it much longer, I asked “Perfume? This is not yours, right?”
He remained silent, hesitated, and finally said with a smile, “Secret, Secret.”
“This is not yours for sure. Where did this come from?”
“There was a display counter at the hotel and I just tried some on.” There was something about the way he said it.
“Your story was good, but I can always tell when you lie.” I told him before going into the bathroom. After nine years of knowing him, I knew this was not the truth. It did bother me and I kept thinking about it as I brushed my teeth for the night. But, I was surely not going to ask him about it or argue. Definitely not at this time of the night.
When I stepped into the bedroom and my eyes adjusted to the dim lights, I saw a neatly wrapped pink package waiting on my pillow.
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“Happy Anniversary…in advance!” he said.
“It’s more than a month away…why now?”
“I wanted to keep it hidden and give it to you on our anniversary.”
“Then you should have kept it hidden and given it to me later.”
“No! I know you. You would keep thinking about the perfume on me.” He watched me closely as I unwrapped the package to reveal the exquisite bottle of perfume inside.
“The perfume store is right next to the hotel where we had the conference, so I took the opportunity to buy it today.” He smiled. I was smiling too. Not everything is spoken and words cannot convey everything either.
I guess the beauty of a relationship is sometimes in knowing the other person better than they may know themselves.
Feelings are somewhat like perfume, you don’t see them, and you can’t touch them, but only feel their presence and enjoy it while it lasts.