Vanilla

January 2, 2012 daily theme writing prompt on Figment. A woman’s sneaking suspicions about a man’s true intentions about herself. (Note: Yes, the diary has been given the same name as the dead woman that he still clings to–and this name comes from a song by Dessa titled “Anabel.”)

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Dearest Ana:

Today was a day for the books, I’ll tell you. One of those days that you just can’t wait to get home and record in your little notebook to review at a later time—just to live it once more. And you hope that it will bring a smile to your face—but I certainly know that today will bring a smile to mine for years to come.

What was so grand about today, you ask? Well, today I took a walk with him. In the park. In our park. I wore my best color: lavender. I wore his favorite scent: vanilla. I wore no make up: I didn’t need it. You told me that—but I already knew it. I didn’t need you to tell me so. But you told me so anyway. That’s beside the point, though.

Today was a day for the books. As we were walking through the park, shoulder to shoulder, at a gentle stroll among the winds that caused the brown, red, and yellow leaves to dance around us, you turned to me. Serious. You asked what I believed in terms of possibilities. At first, I had laughed. You always asked me such silly little questions such as this. And I always answered them with the utmost correctness, even if your answer was more probable than my own. With a smile, I had answered: “I believe in the possibility of possibilities.” I had answered in a manner philosophical enough—intelligent enough—to keep you satisfied. To give you a little something to mull over. Just enough to ruminate on before you swallow it and digest an answer of your own.

Then came your answer: “If you believe in the possibility of possibilities, how will you set forth into possibilities?” Now it was my turn to ruminate. Finally, I came up with an answer worthy of being spoken: “I believe in the possibility of possibilities, where the possible possibility has already been set forth into motion. There would be no need for me to waste my time to acquire this possibility if it already exists.” He turned his eyes to mine, curious at this glimpse of my mind, wondering if I had been speaking truthfully without saying the truths. Just as he had been. I had been as well. It is so much easier to admit what you do not truly admit when in the face of whom you would like to admit it to.

We walked in silence for moments, out of the park and down the quiet streets of the town, until he stopped in front of her old home. He always did that when we ventured down this street. Stopping to glance up at her windows, dust covered and black. It has been four years since her face appeared in that window—but he still looks for her anyway. Anabel—the woman he used to love. The woman I strived so much to be like. But I was better than her, anyway, I reminded myself silently. I could sing—she had sounded much like the cat the neighbor had run over last week. My fingers could charm almost any instrument they came into contact with—she had not even been capable of finding middle C. And I could recite the works of Shakespeare and E. E. Cummings in completion by their publication date—I don’t believe that she even knew who E. E. Cummings was. Perhaps what attracted him was the fact that her mind was so delicately buried in dreams of the surreal that proper ideals had never reached beyond her small ears. No mind of her own—but that could not be it. He seemed to enjoy learning about my mind.

I had not realized that I had begun to stare into the windows as well until I had felt his hand upon my arm. His eyes beckoned us to leave. I nodded, giving my consent. And, then, something happened that had never happened before. He had unlocked the gate—he still kept her keys? And he had set forth on the path up to the house alone. I stared, disbelief upon my face. He paused at the door, glancing over his shoulder at me. Numb from the cold, I commanded my feet to follow him into the silent house. Though it was cold, he took off his hat and his coat as if there was a fire roaring in the fireplace in the parlor. I kept my attire on, pockets full of fists.

He crept up the stairs, seeking out her room. I followed hesitantly. Should I have left? Should I have allowed him to venture into this corner of his mind alone? He seemed to want my company, though. And so I obliged him. My body followed his, working on auto-pilot alone, it seemed. Finding his treasure, his hand rested upon the doorknob. He stopped so suddenly that I nearly collided with him, standing much closer than I felt comfortable in our surroundings. But at least I smelled of vanilla.

“Vanilla?” he had asked, seeking my eyes in the scarce light. I did not answer. “That was what she wore.” He opened the door, leaving me to stare at the back of his head. Had she worn the shade of lavender, too? I already knew that she had not worn makeup, either. He had told her that she had not needed it either. Had she? I wanted to say yes, but then I wondered if he said things to make us feel better. No, I shook my golden curls firmly; I did not need such garish accessories. She should have worn them—but I do not need them. With a certain disregard for the sanctity of the room, I forced my way through the frame, following him to the window. We stood shoulder to shoulder for quite some time, watching the leaves dance outside. The streets looked so lonely tonight in the fading light.

Tentatively, his hand met my own. I turned to look at him, though he stared straight ahead. I returned the gesture, lacing my fingers with his. Then, slowly, he turned to face me. There was something in his eyes—a sadness but also a tranquility. His lips met my own, but his eyes never closed. And, then, a silly thought entered my mind. I could not seem to keep it out—or even quiet enough to put my mind to rest. He saw her in me. No, to him I may as well have been her. In fact, I believe that I was her—just a better version. It was her that he would now love only second best. I was the first—I would always be the first.

And then he spoke: “I could think of no one better to take her place than you.” And I had smiled softly, kissed him sweetly on the lips, and allowed him to lead me away from the house. He put on his hat, then his coat, and locked the door behind us. Then the gate, too. And he walked me home, as he always did but this time with a kiss goodnight.

Yes, today was a day for the books. It was the day when he chose me instead of you…right?

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