Petrichor. That is my favorite scent.
I was born at the height of an El Nino and well, the rain and I are spirit bound.
So when I journeyed that day to the Samurai’s dwelling,
do you know what I found?
A drowning man.
Life has a sense of humor that way.
He looked up at me; eyes cast in shadow, hips shaking from the effort, and asked,
“Are you here to save me?”
I was struck by confusion and panic.
I had no boat and knew that I was not permitted in those waters.
What did I, a restless soul, a wanderer, a seeker of stillness, know
about birth and rebirth through metamorphosis?
I stood there, caught in the archipelago of his mind,
and furiously searched the treasure trove of my mother’s wisdom.
He looked up at me and said,
“It is your mercy I seek. Not salvation.”
How could I, a small, fragile child offer this warrior mercy?
We stood like this for a time – me, half-frozen in terror; he, willing himself to survive.
I fell to my knees and he closed his eyes. I began to weep,
and he begged me not to add to his torments.
I too closed my eyes, and he began to hum,
A slow song.
A haunting song.
A song shaped like a white flag in battle.
That is why my skin is cold and my eyes dark.
That is why I quiver in silence.
That is why I am forgotten.
I do not know if he survived.
I faced a Samurai’s breaking and found the weight of it too much a burden to bear.
He was endemic to the landscape of his suffering
and the waters in which he drowned would not have permitted my entry.
I left that hut and found solace in the light of the setting sun.
I sat by the shore and wept.
I walked until my spirit bled and found I could not forget.
And so, I became as you see me now –
full of sea breeze, night-time stillness, and three lifetimes worth of longing.
Photo by MItodru Ghosh on Unsplash