Jasmine, that’s what our house smells like.
It’s not an urban jungle, my garden. Giving the jasmine company is the long-ish bed of some plant I like to simply call spinach (for no reason) with delicately coloured pretty flowers.
We made dinner with loving hands, hungry voices and happy noses; we sat adjacent to each other and ate from our porcelain plates. Now, washing up has stopped being a chore, and so has cooking. We walked off our dinner along Champak-lined streets, its fragrance seducing my fiesty curls. The beauty of repetition dawns when we walk arm in arm, the way we know how we fit. Our bedroom smells of Sampige too, thanks to the thoughtful Chembakam outside our window.
On lazy Sunday afternoons, I make small talk with all our bookshelf people, though of course I like mine better than his. They watch me, like an audience, from a world of their own. Neatly overflowing, my books always find their way back home to the bookshelf. His books are elite and you cannot open one at random; you need a certain standing in society to mingle with them.
Our TV watches, him, me, and everything we do, through her omniscient eye. She wants us to know that she is ready to play a movie, any movie we fancy watching. She wants us to watch her channels perform but she knows that’s out of the question. Hence the offer we can’t refuse. Him, me and her end up sharing our suspension of disbelief. On a sofa, the right one, on whose purchase we spent quarter of a year, we sit comfortable, curves melting, bones cushioned, ready to fall asleep at the stench of the movie turning lousy.
As I lay there, an aside in my brain processes the things in our storeroom. I have two kinds of pickle, with another one waiting to be made. I have three homemade attempts at winemaking in different stages of completion. I could bake a cake this evening with a touch of improvisation. I take stock of supplies, the ones I need to use and the ones I need to buy. I don’t wonder what his brain is up to. The joy we sought has been found, like a dual-sim phone, we live together but still keep our heads separate.
We pay no maid because we love playing house. The chores aren’t divided between us, no one is responsible for anything but it’s an understanding that these need to get done, no matter who does it. Another understanding is that the other will step in without a word when required. We step out during the week, for beer, movie, play, fair or for an occasional mandatory sighting. We don’t have children yet, but we talk to them, about them. Our Future stands at earshot, listening.
The love has stabilised, it’s within the limits of expression now and our hearts aren’t bursting out of our chests. We are not a perfect match, we are not the dream partners, we don’t understand each other or share common interests. The respect, however, has grown, so has the camaraderie. Love is too commonplace to be mentioned. There is a sense of fitting well, a feeling that I previously thought only a pair of jeans could provide. We have our fights, of loudness so deaf followed by silence so loud. But we are both eager to make up and we are glad to have fought because the fight seems to have filed away yet another sharp edge. We fit better making our hugs a national convention of skin.
There is work, family, friends, bad drivers, opinions, things each of us doesn’t like to do, things we are forced to do, duties we forget, meetings we don’t make it to, points we cannot convince each other on and things we don’t appreciate to exasperate us as a couple. But, we seem to be gliding, our only surety that of being attached to the glider; me-mine-him, he-his-me. That everything can be dealt with as long as we stand by each other. That we are each other’s strength and weakness.
Distance has always been a part-time friend; the best part being the dream I could invent. Whatever life with him serves up now, it wouldn’t upset me for I have lived my tame Jasmine-scented dream. I am ready for my chaotic reality. This is how I smell a dream.