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Lemons - But it's Better if You Do

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June 3rd, 2011


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03:40 pm - Lemons
I fell in love with a stranger on a train, once. He had short, dark hair that curled behind his ears; he was carrying three paperback books instead of a computer in his laptop bag; but what really made me want him was the way he smelled.
He smelled like lemons.
Not synthetic fruity shower gel, or the acrid fumes of citrus cleaning fluid, but real lemons, the kind of smell that lingers on your hands after you've finished making home-made lemonade, the smell that stays up your nose and on your tongue for a really long time after you've finished eating a sorbet.
I sat and I tried not to stare at his hands and his head as he studied his book. 'House of Leaves'. This is not for you. Wires were pulling at my muscles - sit up straighter, smile a little more, open up your body language. I tried not to breathe too loudly. The quiet that linked us was thick and cold in the air and I almost hyperventilated on it, would have opened the windows if I knew how.

I wanted to say something to make him smile - but the one time I had made a connection with someone my own age on a train was a disaster. He had sat down behind me and after a minute or two, when the train started moving, he touched me lightly on the arm and he said,
"Excuse me, do you have the time?"
He had a low voice, an even younger Willy Mason. So I turned and I smiled and I told him the time and I watched as his face crumped while he took in my glasses and fat cheeks and stubborn acne scars and he said,
"Sorry, I thought you were someone else",
and he moved carriages.

I didn't say anything to the man who smelled like lemons, or ask him for the time, or tell him I've always been too scared to read more than a few pages of that book. I just sat and quietly took in the back of his head and the smell of his skin. Because who else can say they fell in love with a man on a train, and let him go?

(I'm Yours With Caution)


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