Scents of Heaven

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Women do fall in love with one another at first sight, but they take a little longer to fall into one another’s arms.


Scents of Heaven

(c) 2005 by Penelope Street

I shall always look at the simple metal box and its supporting post with something resembling awe. It is just a mailbox, after all. I cannot help but marvel how such simple items can be the centerpiece to events that change our lives. I shall be ever thankful of the manner in which my humble letterbox changed mine.

Everyone remembers their first true love, and all that comes with it. I suspect most recall something less than an example of supreme bliss or the start of a romance for the ages. That was exactly my recollection until a cool spring day not so long ago, when an unplanned encounter led me to reevaluate everything about my life, my heart, and myself.

Before then, I wasn’t even sure whom I would have named as my first true love. Was it the first boy that held my hand? Or kissed me? Or fucked me? Or would I have been sentimental, as well as dishonest, and tried to pretend it was my husband?

In my late teens, I was never lacking for opportunities for male companionship. As a girl, I was cute, sporting a chiseled face framed by shoulder-length locks as straight as they were black. My figure was similar to my hair; sharp, short, and straight. I was cute, nothing more, but that’s enough to turn the heads of boys at a time when their heads aren’t used for much more than turning.

Though I was of interest to the boys, I did not find them similarly appealing. At the time I figured I was simply young and accepted that one day I would look at males in a different manner, even though I could but imagine what the experience would be like when I did. It never quite happened the way I had envisioned, but I did have boyfriends.

The boy I now consider to have been my first beau was Michael Anderson. He wasn’t much bigger than I was then, though he was a senior and I was a sophomore. My earliest memory of him was playing on the same co-ed intramural soccer team. During one particular contest, a rather large boy on the other team kicked me twice and then knocked me to the ground. Before I had a chance to regain my feet Mike had tackled the other lad.

Of course, Michael got a pounding for his trouble, in addition to a red card, but he was still my hero. We held hands throughout the school corridors for all of three weeks. I even sat up at night in my bed and practiced signing “Grace Anderson.”

Then he asked if I would be his girlfriend.

I panicked, thinking that being his girlfriend meant doing more than just holding hands. Looking back, I doubt he wanted more than a confirmation of what we already shared. In spite of fantasizing about being his bride, I was not yet ready for kissing, let alone more. I dumped him in the indurate fashion that is all too common to teenagers.

Only years later, as more serious boyfriends came and went, did I begin to regret the haste, foolishness, and callous cruelty with which I treated a very nice boy. I have often thought to seek him, if only to apologize. Although I am sorry for how I had treated him, I have never regretted not having become Mrs. Anderson. However, I do hope that, wherever he is, he still thinks of me as his first girlfriend, though I know it to be a title I do not deserve.

After high school, I went to college, but never graduated. It was the late sixties and there seemed to be more important things to do than study, including having far too much sex with boys I knew far too little about.

Looking back, I feel fortunate. When I did get my stupid ass knocked up, it was at least by as close to a gentleman as one could hope to find in that age group. He offered to do the decent thing, and I accepted. Thus I became, and have since been, Mrs. Andrew Myers.

As fortunate as I feel, I feel just as guilty. I have never been as good a wife to Andy as he has been husband to me. The one simple, unshakable truth is, he loves me, but I have never quite felt the same way. I have tried, but the task is impossible, none of us choose whom we love. Like all those who have contemplated that bitter irony before me, I know not why. I have spent entire days wondering if love is the most simple thing, or the most complex. The more I wonder, the more I am convinced it is the latter.

Thus I lived what most would expect to have been the best years of my life, those early times when the spirit and body both feel young. Though my daughter was an accident and my husband a convenience, I cannot say that I suffered. Andy was a good provider. Colette was a model child. I did my duties to both as I saw them and, in hindsight, I did an acceptable job on both fronts.

Yet, though I did not suffer, neither was I joyful. I knew my life was a shell of the dreams I had had as a child. When Colette went away to college, the abject emptiness of my own existence became apparent.

I otele gelen escort considered seeking a separation, but I could not see myself happy with another man anyway. In spite of the fact that I did not love Andy, I at least liked him, trusted him, and respected him. I felt like a mercenary, or even a harlot, for choosing to stay with him for practicality rather than passion, but I stayed just the same. The prospect of being unemployed, unloved, and alone seemed far more daunting than maintaining the sham that I was a contented housewife.

The story of how that sham became a reality begins the autumn day the “For Sale” sign appeared in the yard next door. When I first saw it, the sight caused me some distress. Though I had no great affection for the couple that lived in the adjacent home, they were quiet neighbors and the risk of having some hooligans in their place was, at the very least, disquieting.

I need not have worried. The young couple that purchased the house turned out to be even more reclusive than their predecessors. Andy greeted them the day they arrived, as the movers unloaded their truck. In spite of the pleasantries exchanged, they essentially ignored us afterward, and we reciprocated.

Over the winter, I caught an occasional glimpse of the couple and their two boys. Once I saw the mother and her sons in the backyard building a snowman, but I never gave them a second glance.

Thus my neighbor and I were essentially strangers come early spring when I stood by my mailbox, flipping through the envelopes, hoping to see something other than a bill. I got my first decent look at the woman as she conducted her boys along the walkway from her house. She was a shade on the stocky side, though hardly fat. A short mop of ruddy brown capped the head that I judged to be an inch or two above my own.

A smirk crossed my features as I noticed the young lady wore her nightclothes. My head bounced once as I issued a snigger; I at least bothered to wear a sweater and slacks, even if I was just getting the mail. When she caught my gaze and returned an honest smile, my sneer melted along with my contempt.

Such a happy smile, I thought, returning a polite, but aloof, nod. And just walking with her boys in her pajamas, how can she be so happy? Have I ever been that happy?

Wearing a scowl, I continued to sift through the post, but my focus was beyond my hands. When the woman reached the sidewalk not ten feet distant, she bent over to kiss each boy on the cheek. As she did so, her loose top fell away from her body. My gaze jumped, forgoing any pretext of examining the parchment, to stare straight at her exposed bosom. So wonderfully large and full were her breasts, perfect of symmetry, uniform in hue, enticing in their apparent softness.

My eyes bulged as my tongue felt the moistness within my mouth. With a gasp, I glanced first left, then right, then back to my mail. What is wrong with you? I scolded myself. Checking out another woman’s breasts. In spite of my internal reprimand I found myself looking again a moment later. I could not recall having ever seen anything so alluring.

My focus dropped to my own modest bosom, obscured as it was by my sweater. When I looked up again, I inhaled a quick breath. My neighbor, her face aglow, had covered half of the distance between us.

Her smile, I mused. It’s every bit as lovely as her breasts. Her baby face and those freckles, how dare she look so good without a shred of makeup! I snapped my head in a pair of brisk pivots, as if by shaking it I could expel the thoughts I judged to be unnatural and wrong.

“Hi,” she began. “I’m Cheryl. Cheryl Dobbs. But my friends call me Sherry. You must be Grace?”

She knows my name! My jaw fell and hung idle for a full second before I recovered enough to speak. “Yes,” I managed to mutter. “I’m Grace. Grace Myers. Pleased to, uh, finally meet you; Sherry?”

“Yes,” the woman nodded. “Sherry.”

My eyes roamed in the silence that followed, dropping with some haste to her chest and the perky nipples that stood out clearly through the lean fabric in the crisp morning air. Shocked by my own fascination, I snapped my focus back to her face, where I found her eyes sparkling every bit as much as before.

“Aren’t you, uh, cold?” I inquired. “Being outside in just your PJs, I mean.”

Sherry shrugged. “A bit, but I wasn’t planning to be out long. You?”

I shook my head. “No. I’m not cold.”

Sherry grinned as her head fell to a tilt. “No. Were you planning to be outside long?”

“No. Just getting the mail.”

“Oh, has the postman come already?”

I shook my head. “No. I just forgot to get it yesterday.”

“Busy day then?”


“You must have had a busy day,” Sherry said. “Yesterday, I mean.”

“Not at all. I just forgot.”

“What about today? Are you busy today?”

I shook my head again. “Not really.”

I did not escort rus imagine that Sherry’s smile could get any bigger, but it did. “Then we should get to know one another a little better! Would you care to come over for a bit?”

My brain screamed No, but my nodding head and my treasonous mouth both said, “Yes.”

“Great! Do you take coffee?” Sherry’s smile did not seem to leave her face, even as she spoke.

I nodded again. “Yes.”

“Great!” Sherry repeated. “See you in a few then?”

“A few?” I queried.

“A few minutes.”

“Sure,” I agreed with a nod. “See you in a few.” I allowed her to take two steps before I turned and scurried toward my own door. Tossing the mail onto the coffee table, I headed for my washroom.

I already had my cheek turned to the mirror as I reached for the light. Examining my reflection as my face sprang into view, I caught myself pouting. “Relax,” I instructed the woman in the mirror. “Who cares if the neighbor lady is pretty? Not as if she’s trying to steal your husband. What are you worried about?”

I gave my face a good scrubbing and found a pair of earrings that matched my sweater before striding with imagined confidence across the lawn to Sherry’s door.

I watched my hand quiver as I reached for the bell, unable to identify the hollow feeling in my abdomen where my stomach should have been, a sensation that tried to climb into my chest with every breath.

My heart bounced as the door separated from the threshold to reveal Sherry’s beaming face. “Hello!” she cried, standing to one side. “I was starting to think you were going to stand me up!”

I issued a polite nod as I stepped into her home. “I was just freshening up a bit. I didn’t mean to keep you waiting.”

“Freshening?” Sherry queried. “You’re positively radiant! I’m the one that looks like a dumpling.”

At once I knew how I wanted to respond, yet it was anything but how I felt I ought to respond. As much as I wanted to tell her just how beautiful I found her to be, I dared not. After fumbling for some seconds in an attempt to find an acceptable compliment, I settled for a simple, “Thank you.” Before my mouth had finished moving, I regretted not having said more.

Sherry’s smile subsided to a forced grin. “Well, I have the coffee ready in the kitchen. It’s this way.”

I don’t recall much of what else we said the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon. What I do remember is discovering that Sherry was as charming as she was pretty; and how fast the hands on the clock can sometimes move.

Too soon her children returned home from school, sending me reluctantly back across the lawn. But my mind did not travel with me. I had left it somewhere in the house next-door, still mesmerized by the unpretentious, yet captivating, woman who lived there.

I retired that evening with Mrs. Dobbs still on my mind, and awoke no different. Rising from my bed, I stretched and shook my head. Still groggy, but certain my memories of the previous day were true, I made my way to the washroom.

What is wrong with you? I asked my reflection. Can you be so lonely that anyone’s company seems divine?

Reluctant to appear needy, I decided I would not contact Sherry again right away. As the hour approached when the Dobbs’s children would depart for school, I sat in my parlor with a cup of coffee, my eyes locked on the neighbor’s lawn.

To my surprise, and disappointment, the boys emerged from the house without their mother. As I watched the youngsters waddle along the concrete path, I searched my brain, trying to recall if I had ever seen Mrs. Dobbs walk her sons to the curb before. My brow dropped as I realized I had never seen her walk her children to the street prior to yesterday.

What a coincidence, I mused, that she should happen to walk her children to the sidewalk when I was at the mailbox. My thumb moved to my chin, my index finger to my lower lip. Or was it a coincidence?

When the postman did arrive in the early afternoon, I decided to test the question. I deliberately waited an hour before making my journey to the mailbox. Somewhere in my heart, I felt confident Sherry would emerge from her house to meet me once again by the street. I walked as slowly as I dared to give her every chance to both notice and join me.

She did neither. A sense of despair poured over my soul as I made the long and lonely trek back to my front door. A sulk had seized my face by the time my fist seized the handle. I paused to look back to the street, and my mailbox. I shook my head, disparaging my own foolishness. Did you really expect her to rush out of her house to meet you? Why did you expect that? Why did you want it so?

My eyes moved from the street to the gaunt hand that grasped the handle of my front door. Unable to answer my own questions, I turned the knob and retreated into the safety of my home.

The next morning I again watched the Dobbs children escort sıhhiye depart for school. And the following morning as well. On both occasions, the boys made the journey alone. I sat in my parlor and chewed my lower lip. It’s Friday, I reminded myself. There’s no school tomorrow and no mail the next day.

I clamped my lips together over my clenched teeth. My soul was seized by a grim determination; if she would not come out to meet me at my mailbox, then I would go out and meet her!

The sun crawled across the sky until the postman arrived. From that moment I sat on my couch and made ready my ambush. My nose perched on my intertwined fists, I waited. And waited.

The only time my eyes left the street, they strayed to the clock, where the time advanced at pace to make up for the sluggishness of its morning passage. In a moment, it seemed, the hands found the hour when I knew the elementary school let out.

My shoulders sagged as I stood. I paused at my door and blinked back an unexpected tear. What? I wondered. Are you crying now? Why? Just because the neighbor lady didn’t check the mail today?

In that moment, I felt more despondent than I could ever recall. The hollow feeling in my abdomen had only intensified as the days passed. Now it was worse than ever. I could not recollect having felt such misery, though surely there was no identifiable pain involved.

I trudged out into the daylight. The air was warm, yet I still felt a chill. With my eyes to the concrete, I made my way along the walk.

My shoulders sprang upward and my gaze with them as I heard a creak to my right. I kept my wide eyes fixed forward for three paces before I dared move them to find the source of the sound, so fearful was I that I would see anything other than Sherry.

When I did see her, I snapped my view away from her at once, focusing again on the mailbox that was still my ostensible destination. A dozen steps later, the hollow sensation had moved from my abdomen to my torso. What is this feeling in my breast? I wondered. One minute it feels empty, the next as if it is on fire. I looked down at my chest. The threads of my sweater bounced with each thump of my heart. This makes no sense. What can… oh, you fool! You forgot to breathe!

An unfamiliar giddiness seized my spirit as I arrived at the mailbox. Retrieving the post, I dared to take a long look at my neighbor. She’d combed her short locks straight. Instead of pajama’s, she wore a pleasant lavender sweater and loose-fitting jeans.

“Hi!” I called as her eyes found mine.

“Hi!” Sherry replied, bypassing her own mailbox to stroll my direction. “How’ve you been?”

My face aglow, I moved to meet her. “Fine. You?”

“A bit lonely,” Sherry sighed. “Having you over made me realize how quiet the house can be, especially with both boys in school. Do you ever feel the same way?”

“Yes,” I nodded at once. “Is that why you’re going out?”

“Going out?”

“Surely you didn’t get dressed up just to go to the mailbox?”

Sherry looked to her outfit, then to mine. “I’m wearing pretty much the same thing you are.”

My eyes dropped, confirming her claim. “Oh. I guess you’re right,” I admitted. “It’s just that you look so, uh, … ” I paused, reluctant to finish what I had begun, floundering as my jaw hung limp. Sherry’s smile melted into a pout while I pondered how I could complete the sentence in a tactful manner. After several disquieting seconds, I tossed a portion of my discretion to the wind. “You look quite lovely.”

Sherry’s eyes brightened. Her smile blossomed. “You look pretty too, especially in this blue.” She moved her hand to touch the fabric of my sweater upon my left forearm. I watched her hand slide down the sleeve as if she was caressing the cloth. When her fingers reached the cuff they continued straight onto my bare flesh, pausing where my thumb joined my wrist.

I swallowed, shifting my gaze from our adjacent hands to my neighbor’s face. I found her eyes locked upon mine from amid an impassive countenance. I swallowed again before replying, “Thank you.”

Sherry’s fingertips moved again, tracing the contour of my thumb until they strayed off the end of my digit. “I know we parted quickly last time when the boys showed up,” she recalled. “I should have gotten your number. Here’s mine.” She reached into her pocket and produced a slip of folded paper.

“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll have to get you mine.” I tilted my head as I accepted the note. Surely, I thought, she does not wander to the mailbox everyday with her phone number in her pocket. My eyes widened as my brain scrambled to a startling possibility. I wasn’t sure what I ought to make of the thought, but I knew I liked it. I liked it a lot.

“Please do,” Sherry insisted.

“Shall I call you Monday then?”

“Oh, yes. That would be great.”

“I will then,” I affirmed. “Perhaps we could visit again?”

“Yes,” Sherry agreed. “We should do that.”

I swallowed. “Monday? Would you like to come over Monday?”

“Yes!” Sherry gave her frame the slightest, yet somehow the most charming, wiggle. “I’d like that very much.”

I nodded my agreement. “Why not just stop by after you get your boys off to school?”

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