Night-Blooming Jasmine


Sometimes as I am walking home late at night, I scent her fragrance. No matter the exhaustion of all that has come before, no matter the exhaustion of all that is to come, these things mean exactly nothing when I feel her near.

She waits, no doubt, for moments such as these: summer nights. And she waits for quiet, still hours where the silence swaddles the city forcing us to accept that we are indeed all alone.

And, of course, she waits for night.

Obviously, she is present both day and night and in all seasons; it’s just that she is harder to perceive when everyone is scurrying about. But of course she is there; this city would not exist without her effulgence.

Every brick, every pane, every cupola is held in place by her spell. Without her to hold up the enormous edifice of the city, not even a single story would remain of all the stories that have been erected and written and lived and imagined here.

She is near but she is not always with me.

And though I wait for her – I suppose I am always waiting for her whether I know it or not – my surprise when, turning the corner I find her, is absolute. And no matter what has happened to me in the hours before, I am young again, without wounds nor frustrated desires nor fear of death: I am everything in that moment when she appears.

We walk a while together. Neither of us says a word — for what would be the use of words? The sidewalks glide slowly beneath our feet and the night hovers above us heaving expectantly. In that silence I fill myself up again with her and draw her into me.

But all too soon I can feel her drifting away, as if something else is distracting her. We may go on together a while more but already I know that her company does not belong to me alone. Soon I will be walking solo except that I am not alone because I know that she is out there — somewhere — in the night.

If I wanted to find her, I couldn’t; she comes only when she deigns. Perhaps there are nights when I think she might come and she does but they are outnumbered by the nights when I think she will and she does not.

Every night when I stroll it is possible that she will come and walk a while beside me. There is at least that chance and I am aware of it as I pass a curtained window or hear the talk of some friends on a balcony or feel the stillness hovering in the trees. It makes me walk more slowly, extending the night with each stride, in case she chooses to offer me another piece of this night that I crave.

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One response to “Night-Blooming Jasmine”

  1. Adrian Insaubralde Avatar
    Adrian Insaubralde

    Another gripping story about a woman and her long lasting fragance that envelopes everythig in its path. Again, the scent stands for the woman, the part for the whole, which in poetry is known as synecdoche. I enjoyed every line of your story.

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