May 24th, 2004

Mask

The Painter

I took more time bathing than dressing, pulling together my soaps and scrubs, smelling them to make the perfect combination. My friend and former therapist delights in smell and taste more than I have ever known a man to do. I decide, finally on a nutty citrus smell. After I brush my teeth, I suck on a cinnamon stick, which is bitter, but strong, and I hope will please him.





I look for him on the steps of the theater but it is not until most of the crowd has shuffled inside that I feel his warm hand on my bare shoulder. He lightly takes my hand and kisses the air above my fingers.

“You smell like turpentine and orange soap.” He straightens up and I exhale. His eyes widen. “And cinnamon. Lovely.”

I find myself blushing.

“Please, let's go inside.” He says, and offers me his arm.





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