Valentine’s Day

The last Valentine’s Day I celebrated with my former husband, Alan, surpassed any dream I could ever have.  None of the Hallmark writers or designers could have come up with this scenario.

Alan had been travelling excessively for business.  He missed his birthday, my birthday, our wedding anniversary.  But it’s Valentine’s Day, he’s home and

 

we’re going to make it special.

A simple dinner in our dining room, served on the heirloom porcelain.   A bottle of Burgundy poured into the decanter two hours before dinner and sipped from Lalique glasses.  The candles flicker, a Mozart symphony plays softly in the background.  He wears his tuxedo.  I wear my favorite floor-length black velvet gown, the one with the deep V in back.

We’ve finished eating and are sipping the last of the wine when he pulls a little bottle out of his pocket.  He starts his tale.

“I had an extra hour between meetings when I was in Muscat, Oman, so I explored the souk, the open-air market.

I followed my nose to the source of the scent in the air.  Found a stall full of copper kettles filled with bubbling liquids condensing up through glass tubes and then dripping into large glass bottles. At the back of the stall I saw heaps of flower petals and smaller bottles filled with heavy liquid.

The man working in the stall told me how perfumes are made.  He explained that, as long as there has been a souk in Muscat, his family has had a perfume stall in that very spot.

The stall keeper then said, ‘I see by your ring that you’re married.  Let me give you a bit of Oman to take back to your American wife.’

He took a dropper and extracted fluid from several of the bottles around him and added it, drop by drop, to this bottle.”

Alan hands me the small bottle which I open and hold to my nose.  The scent is heavy, rich, deeply exotic.  I’m about to put some on my finger tip when Alan reaches across the table, takes my hands in his and says, “Wait.”

He continues his story.  “The stall keeper told me the scent is called Morning.  When I thanked him for telling me the name, because I knew you’d want to know it’s a daytime scent, this is what he said.

‘No, not at all.  When it is dark and you are alone with your wife, put one drop of this perfume on the hollow of her throat and one drop on her belly.  You will both ascend to the heavens.  When you return from paradise, it will be morning.’”

 

I leave the table, close the bathroom door behind me and place the drops of perfume exactly as directed by the Omani perfumer.

When I return, Alan takes me in his arms and we waltz to the song he has chosen.

 I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls
With vassals and serfs at my side.
And of all who assembled within those walls
That I was the hope and the pride.

I had riches too great to count, could boast
Of a high ancestral name.
But I also dreamt, which pleased me most
That you lov’d me still the same,
That you lov’d me, you lov’d me still the same,
That you lov’d me, You loved me still the same 

The song ends.  We climb the stairs, side by side, to our bed.  When we return to earth, it is morning.

 

Today is again Valentine’s Day.  Two years have passed since that Valentine’s Day.  Our divorce was settled a few months ago.  This is my first Valentine’s Day as a divorcee.

The phone on my desk rings.  I pick it up.  The receptionist says, “The UPS guy just dropped off a box for you.”  She pauses dramatically, then adds, “I think it’s flowers.”

I’m new to this job and my co-workers know blessedly little about my private life.  When I arrive at the front desk, I find a cluster of women and what is, without a doubt, a box of flowers.

I look at the address label.  One of the women asks, “Who’s it from?  Who’s it from?”

I smile at her and say, “Looks like I have an admirer,” then head back to my office.

The box contains a dozen roses; a profusion of red, yellow, peach and pink.  I dig out the envelope, open it and pull out the card.  This is its message:

“????? – Alan”

____

What would you do with a scent that had the power to do what “Morning” did for Alan and me?  You may have the chance to find out.  Come back tomorrow.  

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day

  1. Perchance Alan needs to go back to Oman and find a scent named “nightfall?” This scent would open his eyes to the harsh light of day and allow him to see what he has done to create a dark and lonely night.

  2. New reader here, introduced by Nanako. Since I am a romantic of sorts I enjoyed your story of the perfume seller and of the name “morning”. While the holiday Valentines Day may be a good way to be “special”, I prefer to seek ways to be special each and every day, not just on the official special days. That pushes me to be creative more often and its more fun always looking for new ideas. Of course some days it ends up being no more complex than showing up with Ben & Jerry’s Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie and 2 spoons and a DVD. Other days a trip to the hot springs. Still others a hot oil massage for her. Celebrate every day, the moments of today. Yes, we are going to the ballet the weekend before Valentines Day and then, two drops of “Morning” placed the night before.
    bf

    • Hi Bob: My thanks to Nanako for introducing you to my diary. I hope you visit regularly.

      Like you, I am a romantic and applaud the way that you weave romance into your regular life. What you describe doing for and with the love in your life keep a long-term relationship fresh and fun.

      Enjoy the ballet, and what comes afterward!

    • Hi Nana,

      Most men I know really do enjoy the company of women over that of men.as well as deriving great pleasure from orchestra, theater, dance and art. I must say that those of us who enjoy these treasures are not enamored with a boys night out. A man who can find joy on both sides of life is rare indeed. My hats off to those who can delve into all kinds of pleasure!!

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