Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

nor_easter_41507102By: Tillie Mush

Autumn…wrapped in wood smoke…and dipped in sunset. That how she would describe it, there was no name. Life turned in an instant and if you didn’t look close, if you didn’t keep your hands inside the ride…there was trouble ahead. Damn the roller coaster she muttered and turned off the ignition. Silence…still…stark and waiting…beautiful, reliable.


She opened the car door slowly fighting against howling wind. The wind was high and the air was wet. Biting cold rain drops slapped her face and twisted her hair. No happy summer giggle rain…no muddle puddle jumping today…this was a sea storm, a nasty Nor’ easter full of violence and turmoil. Yet as always, full of wonder.

She stood on the sea wall, watching white waves crash. Eyes half closed against the pelting rain. She stood against it…as she had stood against everything in her damn life…holding a finger in the dike and waiting for the inevitable flood. Maybe…that was her secret power…always maybe. Maybe I will…Maybe I can….Maybe I should have. “Screw it Scarlett O’Hara”, she said to rolling sea and a wind that ripped her voice from her lips, “Tomorrow isn’t another fucking day…today is the only fucking day and tomorrow will be no bloody different.”

There is a sound the sea makes, when the rocks are hurled in with the tide only to be dragged back in; The sound of stone against stone..Scraping. It was the sound of pleading, begging on bended knee for forgiveness, for absolution; for an answer. It was a melody for an injured soul. Tortured and driven, a haunting melancholy melody that sang to her, standing on the wall…watching and waiting.

She stepped off the wall and walked toward the crashing tides, listening to the siren song. The wind howled and mocked. The rain tore at her face and seemed to seep into her frozen bones. The rocks sang. The waves danced to the tune and she felt somehow light. She was sure. She hadn’t been sure in so long. Not sure of anyone or anything. How had this happened she wondered, how did she get so damn lost so damn fast. It was an easy question to answer. It had been too many maybes; too many wait lit next times, too many Ill figure it outs.

She was a child and that was all she had ever been. Foolish, innocent and naive. She believed. But on this night with no moon it was just too damn hard to sell the story to her own self. Once she would have fought for it. Once she would have stood hands on hips and demanded life go her way. Silence was all she could fight for now, all she could hope for. Still the screaming in my head, quiet the questions and set me free. The waves promised that, the wind sang it and the rocks beat it into her brain. Hypnotized she walked towards the sea. Is it really this easy? She thought…to be free…to just let go and be finally totally free? What’s the harm really in surrender? Just this once…what’s the harm? She closed her eyes and felt something so foreign and so long missed…peace. So easy she whispered as the water crashed around her and she walked into the calling waves.

Morning came a gray and dull morning no different than the day before. There had been no change, no miracle and no big epiphany…just another day on the calendar and another reason to hide under the covers and whisper maybe. She was sore and bruised…every joint screamed and her bones shook from the cold. She pulled back the covers and dragged herself up and out of bed; shuffled to her coffee pot and looked out at a cloudy dismal sky. She couldn’t help but smile. There it was again…that smell. Last night she had felt its scent on her skin…through the raging wind and the driving rain. Such a silly simple thing that made her turn, see the shore and fight to find her way there. It was the scent that tipped the scales. The smell of autumn wrapped in wood smoke and dipped in sunset. Last night she didn’t recognize it. But today actually was another day wasn’t it. Sitting in the rocking chair with a great cup of coffee, she looked up at the pipe, in its tray on the bookshelf and whispered Amphora red. Shaking her head, she had to laugh because she knew…I’m no better and life is still damn miserable.

But maybe.

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4 thoughts on “Scent”
  1. Nice piece. Reading this brings me back to the Northern Californian coast during a winter storm blowing out of the gulf of Alaska. It lights up my scences and stamps it in my memory. Thank you.

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