Smells like May II.

It’s funny how our mood can change in a matter of week or two. When I was writing my previous post about May I was feeling so euphoric I felt I would hug every single person on the street. Some two weeks later, I wouldn’t even hug myself (if it were possible), let alone someone else.

At this very moment I am smiling, drinking black tea at my favourite cafe, it is raining outside and I am writing a new post about May. Why? First of all, because May is slowly coming to an end and you never feel the same about a thing that’s ending than you do about the one that’s just about to start. Secondly, because moments before publishing the previous post I spontaneously deleted two passages that were originally in the first draft. I deleted them because I didn’t want to let myself be overwhelmed with sentiment. I didn’t want to waken and then keep alive the old memories connected to May.

But now, going through a “sentimental phase” I don’t think I should have been ashamed of my emotions.
So here is my little story about one particular May nine years ago, which I prefer to tell in third person (partially because I wish to detach myself from it a bit):

On the first day of May she went out of her house in the early afternoon, it was a bit chilly still but sunny and with the first breath she took the familiar feeling hit her: the scent of warmth in the air soothing her lungs from within, the scent of lilacs and blooming trees and a soft breeze that stroke her face with a touch of spring. She disliked winter as much as she loved spring.
But there was something else, too. Something unfamiliar to her. The butterflies in her stomach that almost felt like sickness, an overwhelming feeling of happiness mixed with confusion and expectation. She was just just about to meet him. She saw him coming towards her and she knew she’s just seconds away from being kissed. There’s an old saying that on the first of May every girl should be kissed under a cherry blossom tree to stay healthy and beautiful for the whole year. She told him that so they went looking for such a tree, or any other tree available – because they thought there’s nothing wrong with adjusting sayings to present circumstances – preferably one that was in bloom. They both heartily agreed that the unidentified one with small pink blossoms will do and stood under it. Time was precious, why waste it to follow the old sayings? When he kissed her she knew instantly she’ll blossom either way – whether or not she believed the grandmothers’ tales.

She was born just a couple of months after him. They lived just meters away from each other. They used to play on the same playground. Not knowing about each other. Not knowing then that some years later they’ll fall in love.

And it was happening now. After many years of being just neighbours, complete strangers. But the stars aligned right and here they were, on the very same street, strangers no more. Since that May, they were bound together. Even on days they didn’t see each other she felt his presence. And maybe she felt it from the very beginning of her life. Because he was always close.

She walked past his windows countless times before. But passing these windows now felt different. She saw his clothes hanging on a thread, drying in the sun and thought that he might wear that red T-shirt tomorrow. When she walked by early in the morning and saw his window blinds down, she knew he’s still asleep and she pictured him sleeping peacefully, maybe even dreaming about her. There were two large lilac bushes in front of his doors. Whenever she passed by she leaned over and smelled them. That scent is now forever associated to him.

The smell of lilacs. Something so perpetual, yet so evanescent.

The very first love. Too much in love, too happy to last. The month of May will always belong to him. The month when lilacs bloom on my street. On his street.

Once upon a time in May the greatest love blossomed. Innocent, generous, limitless. Love such as will never bloom again.

May is coming to an end. And the lilacs are fading away now.


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