Thursday, January 1, 2009

An Appertif of Memories

My hostess sat across from me on the low seat. When she moved some of the albums aside, I could see that it was covered in a fine lace that looked like it had been spun rather than knitted. She had cold sandwiches brought in, including a few that looked like flower-stuffed pitas. These seemed to be her particular favorite and she pulled out tiny blooms and ate them with the diffidence of a child sneaking candies from a bowl.

"I thought you'd enjoy looking through some of these." She smiled and petted an album. The sun had sunk until it had a straight shot through the upper sill of the window on the back garden and rather than washing out the pictures on the wall, their black frames sparkled with gold flecks, as did the walls. She noticed my eyes flicking behind her and turned. "This room used to be where we took Pollen Tea. The gold is supposed to resemble pollen grains."

I tried to drag my attention back to the album, but the entire room seemed to catch the light at once and I was dazzled by a firefly swarm of gold highlights around the room. Even the boquet seemed to have been sprinkled with gold dust. And the smell...it was like summer bloomed under the ficus, a warm summer evening.

She reached across and caught my hand. "Just give yourself a moment, dear. I forget that you're only half ours." I glanced at her, but she had opened the album before her. The first picture was a group shot, my hostess and her sisters along with a group of girls. One of them was my mother's employer, looking not one day younger than she had when I left a year ago, despite my mother's several decades of service.

"I see that you were...friends? With Thera's mother?" I realized that guessing ages is a fools game if you are the guest.

"Thera? I knew her as Cassidy. That is she, back when we were beginning to experiment with photography and human...things. She was so beautiful, a half-blood herself. But then, it wasn't mentioned then." She cut her eyes to me and a flush warmed me. The summer evening still smelled sweet, but the woman across from me had a scent as well. Not soft, but familiar. Almost like my father's scent, a compound of a dozen yards and a hundred flowers. Mom would hold me when I young and bury her face in the nape of my neck and I knew that I smelled like him. She was the one who gave me my first vial of perfume, a few days after he left.

1 comment:

Sheryl Tuttle said...

Wow - what vivid description! It pulled me right in as I could see the gold flecks and smell the room. Great work!