30th May 2020

Can an­droids fall in love? I have stared at my phone long enough and deep enough for it to have some sort of feel­ings for me at this point right?

Not the point.

After the rains I al­ways smelt ran­cid. More like a damp­ness spread­ing across a room full of books. It has­n’t rained to­day. The af­ter­noon just passed by. And on week­end af­ter­noons I smell of rot­ting veg­e­ta­tion. The early morn­ing syn­thetic smell has long with­ered away. I have spent a bit too long star­ing out­side the win­dow and may have wa­tered the plants sit­ting on the sill a bit too much. Excess. R smelt, not of the wa­tered greens with the glis­ten­ing leaves, but of the un­cut tan­gle of weeds grow­ing be­low and the few leaves turn­ing yel­low.

I know you are not too del­i­cate for this, se­cre­tions are not se­crets. R said some­times he felt every other man smelt me just as vividly as he did. Chocolates. Not just the essence from a wrap­per or so­phis­ti­cated dark co­coa beans, but of an en­tire choco­late fac­tory. Melted and then hard­ened into blocks. Some drip­ping down with the heat be­tween my fin­gers only to be licked clean from the palms.

I soaked some rice for din­ner. Cut the pota­toes in half. The starch edges the knife, still un­washed be­side the sink. When I was anx­iously wait­ing for the rice to boil, I chewed the pome­gran­ate seeds to a pulp.

I let the rice over­boil, and now it is slimy and sticky. When I am guilty, I au­to­mat­i­cally smell of dis­in­fec­tant. The white flu­ids meant to cleanse and pu­rify would sting R’s nose and choke on his throat. The aroma would swirl through him, as if he were a toi­let bowl.

The dirt and smears set­tled across my lap­top screen and in-be­tween the keys are a con­stant re­minder of guilt. Layers and lay­ers of filth. I haven’t cleaned my spec­ta­cles. Double the layer of filth and greasy fin­ger­prints.

I am guilti­est when it rains.

The room is still creamed up with the smell of burnt milk from last night. The milk was doused with car­damom and saf­fron. The pot is scarred. The smell so pun­gent. The steel scrub, tired of soak­ing all the burnt pain from the charred in­sides of the steel ves­sel, lies be­side the starched knife. The kitchen sink is still clean.

I show­ered with R. He scrubbed the smell of an empty ware­house, gar­lic and onions fry­ing in hot oil, ex­haust and a flooded un­der­ground sta­tion off me. The fear of los­ing each other loomed vic­ar­i­ously through the soapy wa­ter slip­ping away into the drain. The clump of hair stuck in it slowed the drainage. Feet soaked in grime and sweat and soap clung to each other for com­fort un­der­neath the shower.

The foam mat­tress was tear­ing away from the sur­face be­low. Snapped IKEA rods leav­ing scars had been re­moved. The mat­tress lies on the floor now. The bed­side lamp is dimmed. R knows I don’t need a bed to be promis­cu­ous. I smell of home.