The Smell of Jasmine

There is a brief moment in any relationship where you choose to keep going or to cut all ties, give up, and just let the relationship fade into nothing. Some marriages, even though the couple are still together, the relationship has dried up into dust, and all that remains is a gust of wind to wisp everything away, into the air.

I had that moment. The men on the streets of Yashpal Singh moved quietly. The aroma of spices moved over the bricks as I squatted down and rested my back on the cold cement of the buildings. There was a baby crying in the distance. I inhaled deeply on my cigarette wondering my next move.

When I made it back to my flat, Daishin was there cooking and I went behind her and with all my might said it, “It’s over. No more. I’m leaving for Europe tomorrow.” I was going to miss her, I decided at that moment when I had said it, but it had to be like this. The stories of Europe were there and I had committed to my way.

“No, Aji, you won’t go anywhere. You say this everyday and you come home each day and tell me the same thing. I’ll give you our tea and you’ll forget. We will again have the same conversation tomorrow, you know.”

“This is different,” I said. I felt the tight resolution in my chest and pride in my bones. My heart raced.

“You say so, Aji, but it’s the same. Please drink your tea.”

“I don’t want any tea.”

“You say that each day as well. You drink and forget. Here, sit down and just have a sip.”

I sat down and wondered if she was right. I didn’t love her, no, not now, not ever. And I wanted to live and this was my chance and I wouldn’t forget.

That night, as I laid in bed, I looked at her. She breathed deep. I vowed to remember. But her breath was sweet, like jasmine, and it appealed to me, and I thought I could live with her for just one more day.

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