Chapter 5- Meeting Each Other Again

Chapter 5- Meeting Each Other Again


Lucien decided to attend after all. The atelier was situated in downtown and looked like a rundown church with old beams running up the ceiling made of old planks of wood. The whole atelier smelled of ageing wood and fresh paint. There were good pieces of modern art upon the walls. It was a bit dim and yet the lights were placed to bring good angles of view for the art. In the middle of it all was the perfume basked in warm, limpid light and he could see that it was expensively encased in shapely flasks like those used by alchemists. He was attracted to the design of the bottle because it reminded him of something he could not put a finger to. He knew of the alchemists. They were the original chemists of old. They had been thrown out in Roman times and were salvaged by Arabs for they must have still given something important to the Arab kingdoms. There was a time he became fascinated with alchemy, as a child but relegated it to New Age mania rather than a form of practicality he could teach his students. Still, they belonged to the books of history. They were the pre-cursors to the chemists of modern times. There was something to be owed to them despite what modern times had turned them out to be, an esoteric concept relegated to the dusty shelves of libraries. He was definitely cynical about it.

Professor Fields approached him from the corner of the room, slid her arm about his and led him to the flasks.

“Here, take a sniff. It’s definitely different and I believe would do quite well in the market. It is made from the effusion of Neroli, I believe.”

Upon the mention of his favorite scent, he picked a piece of paper and sprayed a slight amount on the paper. He held it below his nostrils and was assailed by a strange feeling. He could not define it but it lifted his spirits for the rest of the evening.

They sat on chairs and were presented with a dance by the university students. It was a rendition of an Arab music which played from somewhere behind them. Garbed in Moorish costumes they danced an exotic rendition of Sarah Brightman’s Harem that sent his heart pounding with the scent of the perfume exploding in his head like a rush of blood to his skull. Then he found her, on the other side of the dais, was a woman dressed in sheer dress with her fair hair up in a bun but with some loosened down to frame a face that was at once entrancing and youthful. He braced himself as though everything scintillated at that precise moment. The woman smiled at him, her eyes, green, kohled and penetrating.  Her smile was warm and reassuring, he warmed towards her and enjoyed the rest of the dance. It was a wondrous dance. It reminded him of the desert, when he had traveled to the Middle East for a business consultation which he occasionally gave for firms in need of advice.

After the dance, lights flooded the whole hall and Professor Fields led him to be introduced to the perfumer who made The Elixir, as it was named.

He was led to the woman who smiled at him during the dance and held him into grips of reality for otherwise he would have swooned.

“Stella darling, I would like to introduce you to a colleague of mine at the University, Professor Lucien Drew.”

“Hello, Professor Drew.” Stella replied then remarked, “I must say you look familiar. Have we met before?”

“I’m afraid not but you may call me Lucien. Your perfume though, is a familiar scent, Neroli, yes?”

“Yes, my brand.”

He could not help himself but he found himself very attracted to this woman and he had never fallen for anyone before as much as this was turning out.

“Here, take another whiff.” Stella held out her wrist. She pulled up the sleeve of her sheer dress and he bowed to scent her skin, so near now and yet he felt so far for she was only offering him her creation.

The Elixir smelled so familiar, he looked at her wondering if she felt it too. She looked at him when he raised his head and looked confused. She quickly rearranged her sleeve and he could see alarm in her face. There was a pulse in her neck where scents were sprayed to send a message from the perfume of choice. She smelt of Neroli, of a hidden desire towards hedonism, a slight need to let out some delight past borders of containment towards desire.

He adjusted his glassed and mustered the courage to ask her…

“Would you like to go out of here? There’s a nice pizza place nearby. I think they’re still open. That is if you’re free?”

“Yes, please, I mean. Thank you. I would like that very much.” He smiled warmly at her through his glasses.

They walked slowly out of the atelier and realized she was very slight and small wearing heels that made movement a bit stilted. She looked wonderful, like a glass doll. Her eyes were blue like the night sky bereft of stars and he felt he would drown in them.

They walked side by side. He helped her walk past a puddle and they ate at a pizzeria, each relating pieces of themselves. He agreed that the olfactory sense was the most complex of senses to define. That one would have to smell it and not one word about it could give it justice. She talked as though she were older than her age, so mature and yet her youthful mien made her seem like a child playing grown up. She was interested in his course, chemistry and how it related to the promise of enhancing perfumes.

He asked her what she placed in her perfume that made it seem so simple and yet complex as though it were organic.

“…and familiar?” she asked her eyes now transfixed to his. She removed his glasses and reached out to kiss him on the lips. “…familiar?”. She repeated and he could scent the Neroli so near now he was actually breathing it.

“Yes.” He could only reply.

Why? Lucien asked himself. They kissed and when their lips clasped it was as though they were back to that night when they stood on the lap of sands undulating forever past the ministrations of time. There could not be any place in the world where they stood to withstand the pressure of time on their selves and yet they could not, would not be touched by it. It was beautiful. The night sky was the deepest blue and the stars rained on them like tears of glass in an hourglass of time.

He kissed her on the forehead and forever knew that he would never love anyone else. She was now not a Queen but someone familiar and very real. He could smell the Neroli on her that she salved like a child following his every decision for them both. And yet in this final moment he was failing them both, now when she was his more than ever. He loved her knowing her as though he knew her like a friend and a lover. Not with all the pretensions of a Queen.

He held her now as if there were time.

He drew the bottle of Neroli which he knew she also had in her pocket and told her to drink from it because, otherwise, they would die in the hands of the King in the most unspeakable of ways. They were about to drink the contents of the bottle when a large menacing wind took their breath away and they were engulfed into a tunnel where they were shaken from each other’s grip.

The final thought that she believed in was that she had the Neroli in his pocket and wherever the wind would land them, apart, she would remember him, because she had that scent to remember him by.

When they unclasped from their kiss, they knew that they had waited another lifetime to reach this point in time to realize that they were meant to meet again and recall that moment when they were taken by the winds of time towards this age to complete what has been denied them in another lifetime.

From that time on, they would know what the other felt, what the other thought and what the other desired which was nevertheless to say, one.

It was like a clap of lightning, a glimpse into the crack of time in one complete moment that they were meant to be together. They both were taken aback, blushing, they felt shy and yet it was a moment to be strong because neither wanted to be apart from then on. He embraced her and kissed her hair as though he knew her all along more than anyone in this life he had been sent to by the winds of time.

“I think, no, I know I must have loved you in another lifetime.” And he felt her shake a little as she looked up and with her deep blue eyes now brimming with tears.

“I know. Why?” She asked.

“Why?” He asked himself.

“Because someone wanted us apart.” She concluded.

They spent the night watching each other, feeling the others’ heartbeat, knowing each other again with a renewal that both felt was owed them. Not as an entitlement, but as a regret by the forces of the universe and brought them together they make amends. They were together again and that was what mattered.

The pizzeria shut the lights and left a lone light on for them. They leaned on the brick wall and slept with the woman within his embrace and with the scent of Neroli about them like a halo of defense from the vulnerability they could still feel, even now when they were both free. They soaked themselves in the comfort of recognition and the deep sleep of knowing, arriving at knowing where the other came from.

That sky, so blue above them, the love they felt for each other was what drew them so close to each other. The sand beneath them was alive after all and would take them towards itself like an embrace that would save them from death but towards life, another life where they would know each other again.

It was magic, how else could it be, and yet neither had a capability for such a belief, he, beyond the normalcy of science and she beyond the wicked seduction of witchery. For she was a witch with her perfumes, half a lifetime seeking that which was good in all things and he a scientist with time accompanying every chemical he converted, with cynicism tempered all the while.

He must have woven his fingers through hers and she felt it quivering. She was afraid too, this commitment which went through time because every corridor of her dreams tonight, he was there and she was afraid, of losing him again. This fear, was a trepidation she could only accept by accepting the vulnerability that came with it. She accepted him for at that moment it was she, after all who feared even though she knew more than he, the signs, the elements that completed them both.

Light seeped through the glass pane of the pizzeria and together they watched dawn slip towards them and touch them. It was warm like a familiar light of dawn they met in another life when they would sleep together, so happy and awake in each other’s arms, skin, scent of Neroli without thought as to time that went by for they would meet again that night and the next until they could not be without each other anymore and move on to flee the palace and be together forever. Yes, they dared to dream, they recall now. And now here they were, together again.


Magdalo blew his new girlfriend a kiss. This new girl of his would do anything for him. Not like his previous girlfriend, Stella who was skittish as a cat. He felt better. Or did he?

A plate of oysters was laid down on their table at the bar where they had taken a table for them to drink and enjoy the seafood. He wondered how she was? Stella. Probably lonely and pining for him to come back. Well, he won’t. Or would he?


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