The sins of the past revisit me on a regular basis, like old friends greeting me with half-bitter warmth. In the daze following the end of my relationship, I found my feet revisiting familiar roads, my eyes revisiting memory in the old haunts.
I found myself in front of the gate to the park. The fog was layered through the trees as though part of the park didn’t exist in this world. That was only appropriate. Half the park was warm, and the other half was cold and uninviting.
I leaned against the jamb of the gate to the park, staring at a pair of benches facing each other right beside the walking track.
Like a flickering image in negative, I could see two people sitting on one of the benches with their backs to the trees and their legs up in front of them. They didn’t sit like lovers. They chatted with her bag and their drinks in between, his arm loosely on the backrest behind her, staring off vaguely but still completely aware of the immediacy of the milieu.
It was a warm night and everything was perfect. Maybe it was the Rum. No, I don’t think it was. It wasn’t quite December yet. She couldn’t smell the flowers, her nose was blocked. In retrospect, maybe it was a little chilly after all. We were in a bubble of our own and the glasses were fluorescent lights doing figure eights in slow motion, filling, emptying and refilling by themselves. What I do remember well is the jasmine tree beside the gate, and how its smell was in her as much as it was in the air itself.
It is beautiful, because it is in memory. It is beautiful because it is only a memory. Tinted with jasmines in the night, the memory still sends their scent wafting through the air. And then I can almost smell her. As I stood using the gate for moral support, it was as though the essence of the flowers were her very own essence, and I remembered her more.
Shoulders hunched, I walked down the road again. They say it will be colder tomorrow, but I am sure that I will be here again to smell the jasmines. I am a wayfarer and this is my way, it is my punishment to be consigned to an endless circuit of beautiful memories and yet, I feel lucky that I feel it at all. You cannot forget or resent a glimpse of heaven. That is why I accept my punishment with grace. I cannot be sad around jasmines.