Petrichor: as in the smell of the earth after it rains. As in nitrogen filtered through the ground. As in the scent I remember on the night that I met her. The night was alive with wetness, a happy wetness, a boisterous but distant challenge from thunder. How soft and smooth the air felt once the clouds stopped shedding. The frogs were cloaked in darkness as they voiced their mating calls, the moon just beginning to pierce the overcast curtains the sky had drawn. And the smell! It was like the dark musk of the earth.
Assemblage: as in a small gathering. As in two is a pair, three is a crowd, but five makes a party. I was invited into the dorm by a new and lovely friend. Her face held an assemblage of freckles, her eyes framed by large-lensed glasses. She took my hand, which surprised me. She led me to her room where three of her friends were already drunk. She was a microcosm of atoms, assembled into a woman. The light was low, the window open to the weather, rain still dripping from the wooden pane.
Lissome: as in slender or graceful. Though her name, Katie, was sharp, two staccato syllables connected by a broken hinge, it was as if her body was dancing even when she was standing still. I watched her silhouette in the dark as we listened to hip-hop, as she settled into my lap. The circle of tipsy college students was pulsing, hearts in synch, dreams aligned. As she sat, her arm around my neck, her face close to my cheek, I could smell the perfume she wore. She smiled then, and I was lost.
Scintilla: as in small thing or small spark. A quark at first, growing hotter as my desire grew. She threw back her head and laughed. Some scintilla, some flare, finally burst, illuminating the moment. I could not stop looking at her as she stood, her hips swaying to the music. When she sipped her glass of wine and looked at me, her eyes glowed, much like mine must have been, and there came a scintilla of recognition.
Dalliance: as in a short love affair. We spent all of our time learning about each other. We learned to speak softly, honestly, together. Some nights were spent doing nothing, lying in her bed as the moonlight stretched across our bodies. We talked of the past, and of the present. We talked of the future, how uncertain it was. We wrote silly love letters, poems blistering with amity and candlelight.
Imbroglio: as in a complicated situation. Angry words, bitter tears, and the fear that loneliness brings. Months after the breakup, I found myself clearing space for her in my life, clearing space for more stories. If we decided to reunite I might treat her better. I could not seem to let go. Eventually I realized that dwelling on something that might never happen was leeching away my life. Still, I held on to her words as I began to move on: things work out because they have no choice, she had said, even if they’re not how we expect them to.
Ephemeral: as in fleeting, temporary, impermanent. The smell of the earth after it rains, or a small gathering in a college dorm room. Youth and beauty. A spark after a flame has been doused. Short love affairs built on sand, each grain sparkling with vanity. Ephemeral as the complexities of a failed relationship, a bitter stain washed away only with time. Time too is ephemeral, each second fleeing into the unknown. Listen: take what you think you can’t bear to lose, and cherish it. Then give it to the night.
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FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
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