—Tell me... what does he smell like? —he asked me, confidingly. He perfectly knew that I always give importance to those things most people don't even take into account. Scents are a very particular way to describe a person. Each of them has, according to their character and habits, contains a scent which draws him out. At least, for me. I usually describe people I meet by the perfume they emanate.
—Ah! Delicious —I replied, smiling and naughty—. Although it is complicated... —He looked at me surprised but interested, so I went on with the explanation. —He smells like the sunset of a spring day after a warm and relaxing bath.
—Charming, then—. He smiled back, trying to imagine the odour. After a minute of reflection, he looked at me calmly and got ready for the question he wanted to ask me. —What about me? What is my scent?

I looked at him nicely and smiled slowly, with remorse.

—Like a printed page, of comfortable favourite book, a long-standing book.
—Can a book be comfortable? —he raised his left eyebrow in a boastful grimace.
—Sure it can! It is one of those books you reread now and then. That's why you feel it like something personal and of one's own —I sighed.
—And where do you usually keep those books? —he said. I looked at my hands on the table, my fingers intertwined. —I know where you are going —I assured him calmly.
—Where do you keep them —he insisted.
—The books?
—No —he said, serious and irresistible—. Those books... the comfortable ones.
—I only have one.
—Far better. It is special.
—Of course it is.
—On my night table, next to my bed —I said, and then his smile became broad and gave a belly laugh. I looked at him serious.
—In other words, in your spring nights, after a relaxing bath, you dream with stories from your old book.

He really made me laugh this time. I let my hands loose and stood up.

—I'm leaving. Will you come along?
—Don't I do it all the time? —he pat my back lightly and we left the coffee shop behind.

What he didn't know is that sometimes books lose one's interest if you read them too many times.

© Jimena Antoniello

Jimena Antoniello was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. She won the Félix Francisco Casanova award in poetry in 1999, and the IV Prize for Hypershort Tales in 2003. She has written literature but also for radio, television and cinema. Among others, she has a Master Degree in Ancienty Christianity.

Arts and expression + Literature