The scent woke me up. Gentle, warm, soft, arousing. Almond. Almond and something else, a fruit or a flower.
A glimmer of light came from under the door.
I was nervous, then confused. Somebody was in my apartment, but why that smell? Why such an erotic scent?
Quietly I pulled the jeans over my stiff legs. The scent was slowly fading away. I picked the broom from behind my wardrobe and tiptoed to the door. The door handle moved without a noise. The door opened, I stepped outside. The corridor was dark, only a glimmer of light came from the kitchen.
I slowly moved there and froze.
A woman. A thick but translucent white. Her eyes on the empty space in front of me. Screaming without a sound. A black hole opened in her stomach. Her face slowly deformed. She fell. The moment her body touched the ground she was gone.
I sat awake for more than an hour; questions burning through my forehead and a nervous tickle in my hands.
At some point I slept.
The day was boring in the morning, in the afternoon, after the text message, it was just lonely. There should have been a blind date, a friend of a friend. The text came from a number I did not know. “Sorry, I have to work. Maybe another night?”
Shaved and groomed for nothing. Another failure. Solitude for life. A world that not even hates, but rather ignores me.
Saturday morning. 1:30am. The almond scent filled my lungs with excitement. A tightness wrapped itself around my chest.
The light again; under the door.
I stepped outside with the broom in my hand. The woman walked straight through me, followed by cold air. There was anger on her face. Her lips were moving. Her dress flowing with her every move. Something round and white fell from her hair and on the ground.
She entered the kitchen, leaned against the counter. I followed her.
The anger seemed to grow. She was screaming without words. For a moment she stared towards the sink, then her eyes moved to the center of the room. Suddenly she was pleading. Then screaming. A black hole in the thick white, like a brush with black paint pushing deep into white canvas. Her face distorted; she fell; she was gone.
Saturday I sat alone. Games were boring. Dust on the shelves. Movies too uninspiring to be watched. Laundry, clean and dirty, in large heaps on the bedroom floor. The internet my solace.
I forgot dinner. Slept late.
Arousal woke me; her scent in my nose. Greed and passion deep inside my gut.
I opened the door.
Her again. Long hair, a single flower on the left side of her head. She stood in the living room. Her hand stretched forward, as if to grab an object from the table, then to her mouth. Her head stretched slightly back. The hand sank, the head rose. Her lips moved, stopped moving, smiled, she laughed.
I stared at her. I spoke but she did not hear. I waved but she did not see.
I watched with wonder as she spoke without words into the empty room.
She pointed to the golden urn. My wife’s ashes are still inside. Not a pleasant death. Not one I’m proud of.
A twitch in the woman’s lips.
Her lips opened wider when she spoke. Her arms swung from side to side. She stood taller, then retreated in the corridor. She walked backwards past the apartment door, then turned and ran. Right through me; towards the kitchen. The flower fell softly from her hair; a white cloud that quickly vanished from the ground.
In the kitchen. Leaning against the shelf. Anger. Her eyes followed from the sink towards the center of the room. Fear. Screams. A black brushstroke on pure white. Her face distorted; she fell; was gone.
This morning I felt tired. The world was gray and blurry.
For lunch potatoes, peeled and cut and boiled. Plate, knife and pot left in the sink. No one will come – no one will see.
Then the text came.
“Let’s meet tonight!”
Suddenly fresh color in the world. The golden urn stopped taunting me.
“Sure,” I replied. “I will reserve the table. Like Friday – same place, same time?”
Three hours wait. I reserved. Had time to iron; clean the bedroom; shine the shoes.
“Sounds good,” she wrote.
I replied. Too quickly, maybe.
“Great. How will I know it’s you?”
“Oh,” she wrote. A smiley. “I’ll have a flower in my hair. A rose to match my perfume.”
I’m dressed, all ready.
That scent. Now I know. Almond. Almond and rose.