I went to order a cake at the bakery today.
There’s someone important’s birthday coming up, where last-minute, store-bought birthday cakes just won’t cut it (Although many of the best birthdays have been the ones that were not thoroughly planned out). No, I wanted something with all the finesse and experience of work-worn hands that had been baking cakes for years, taught by generations already gone. Like something from an old world. It had to be deliberate and purposefully slow, careful, something that would take time to make, as a celebration of a life well-lived, in the spirit of the person it would be for.
It rained, heavily.
Streets had turned into shallow rivers converging into the main roads, where a veritable deluge had made itself known.
There weren’t many people out, either. Rainy Saturday afternoons really are for staying in.
The trees dripped rainwater at a steady, organic pace; I knew that if I stayed there long enough, I would be able to synchronise my breaths, my heartbeats to that rhythm, trading every one of my lub-dubs for a plip-plop. The downpour created ripples in the flooded gutters, endless rings echoing in the flowing rivulets, composing some form of music visible to the eye but unknown to the ear.
And then all at once, in a plot twist even Fate could (almost) not have seen coming, my feet were not my own to command, and without knowing how, I took the road long forgotten. It was the road that hid in between fenced-off gardens (overflowing with greenery and purple flowers) and the church with the beautiful stone façade, with its rose roof and golden stained glass. The road forgotten was narrow and insignificant, a path you only ever used if you lived somewhere down there. It was the road I had taken so long ago, and then never again. The last I had walked of it, I had been much younger, a completely different person.
I mean, over time, it got easier to use the main roads, to follow the traffic, the people. Main roads are often the shortest means to an end. Which is what roads are for, after all. Besides, there was less of a chance of getting lost. And I desperately wanted that, back then. Being with everyone else, being like everyone else, regardless of what it meant. But now, now maybe I want to get lost. Maybe I want that option back. Because what I am looking for cannot be found in the highways and thoroughfares. It is in the alleys and unnamed streets, the un-asphalted pathways that it lays…
And so, I ambled down the road forgotten.
It smelled sweetly, subtly of flowers all the way through. Some violent winds must have shaken the trees earlier, and these tiny flowers, so pale a pink they were almost white, must have fluttered to the ground. Even murky rainwater would not make these petals, so much like snowflakes they were, seem anything less than pristine.But sure enough, rainwater cascaded like a waterfall down worn asphalt, sloshing at my feet.
It must have been a bit of an odd sight, me in that rain. Me and my chunky, studded boots, my dark blue jeans and black shirt. You would have imagined that this sort of scene best fit a flowing skirt and pastel colours, soft makeup and a timid smile. But I like the image of it. The concept of it. To look ready to climb a mountain or explore a forest and still being able to enjoy something this dainty. It evokes images of a viking wearing a flower crown, or of the myth of a sallow-cheeked Hades and a sunny Persephone…I like the way two opposites meet, I like how I can do something you wouldn’t expect of me. I like how no matter how I look, I am not confined to the limits people’s gazes impose on me.
Still, I was taking pains to not step on the already partly-crushed petals. There were luckier ones racing down gutters towards the capital, carrying their scent with them. I suspect that as I later emerged into the city, the faint scent of rain-flowers clung to my skin, delicate and foreign to the busy capital. But there was also to that scent something head-turning, a familiar undertone, something vague and arresting, like the smell of memories.
Art by the amazing 9jedit, if you haven’t, please check them out, they create the most ethereal, most surreal worlds.