Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The old man

He smelt of jasmine, an unusual smell for an old man, and not his normal one. Normally he smelt of, well, old man, like my grandfather used to smell: a warm, comforting, knowledgeable smell like a mix between old chests of drawers filled with treasures and shaving cream. Yesterday, it was jasmine though. He kissed me hello, as he does every Tuesday, and I smelt the jasmine and it made my heart swell.

He’s had an air of sadness since his beloved wife died eight months ago. It had been a whirlwind office romance, years ago, before I was here. When I started working here and met him for the first time twelve years ago I knew I’d met a kindred spirit. He’s an oddball, no mistaking. His passion (beside psychiatry) is Oscar Wilde. He’s writing a book about the man. When he retired, he made me cry at his farewell, mentioning me in his speech. I felt his affection for me.

I think he would’ve been gay in a different time, like now, but he loved his wife, with all his heart and it shattered when she died. His weekly visits to us showed a thin, sad, man, his Grandpa smell tinged with heartbreak. Each time he came, he seemed to be a little more transparent, as if he was slowly fading into nothing. I wondered if he’d come back to us.

Which is why his jasmine smell yesterday made my heart swell.


Angela said...

What a beautiful tribute. I`m sure he knows YOU to be his kindred spirit, too. He surely came to see you - maybe for a last time, to see you smile. And he put on the right perfume, see, it worked!!
With some people we have a soul-to-soul connection, don`t we?

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