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Friendship Happy Sad

Mayah was enthralled with the idea of capturing a person or a place and putting it into a glass bottle.

She treasured her olfactory sense deeply - for at any time she could experience nostalgia. Think of and long for a memory, place, or person. Be instantly connected and teleported to a smell it seems she shouldn't have remembered, with almost lightning speed and accuracy.

And, for her, some smells were not just places and people and memories, but emotions.

She wondered if other people would smell the same thing as her. If Mayah could find a candle that encapsulated her own sense and experience of ecstasy, childhood, grief, or sadness. Or, even strangely enough, find a candle that reminded her of the exact same place as it did another person.

Mayah knew the candle shop was a place she would take a future significant other while they were dating, should that ever become a reality for her. But for now, it was just a really good friend that was going there with her. One who could match her walking speed.

The tiny doorbell tinkled above them, and they entered in, out from under the first snowflakes of the winter season. It was almost magical to walk under flooding street lights that time of year as the snow floated and flew down.

"Let's start in the back, Calum," Mayah said.

She met Calum in a college class. Group project, but you know; sometimes people find out whose energy they appreciate and start spending more time together. It was funny because he was pretty quiet sometimes, but he knew how to give a low-key laugh about something, and Mayah liked it. And, even though she knew from a logical standpoint that their personalities were definitely some amount of different, for some reason she didn't seem to notice or care much at all. They still studied together or went out on outings or played games together occasionally.

They paused in front of the back shelves of the room, gazing up.

"Pineapple Promenade," Mayah read aloud, climbing the sliding ladder that seemed like it should been in a library. Honestly, this candle shop was eccentric like that - a little more quaint. Like a book store.

She hopped back down, clutching it carefully. "You smell first," she commanded.

Calum obliged and took a sniff. "I have never been a fan of tropical fruits."

"Mm," she acknowledged. "I think it smells pretty good, though,"

"How about this one?" She traded him for a burgundy colored one, instead.

He paused, then smiled. "It smells like my grandma's clothing detergent."

"Well how about that. Isn't it fascinating?"

"I guess so." He placed it back on the shelf. "They probably just used the same perfume as whatever foreign country also made my grandma's laundry detergent."

Mayah smirked, shaking her candle jar at him, "Oh, sheesh!" She placed Pineapple Promenade back on the shelf. "Seriously, though?"

He took a second. "Yeah, I guess so."

This time he pulled a candle down, then opened it to smell teal and turquoise swirled.

"What does it smell like?" Mayah asked.

Calum handed it to her..

"It smells like..."

"Depression." Calum filled in.

"Yeah, like sadness." Mayah became more serious.

"Yeah," Callum nodded, then half-smiled, taking it back from her, and placing it back on the shelf. He gave her a different one instead. "What do you think of this one?"

"It smells like, dandelions in the summer to me."

After examining a few more titles, they left the candle shop and walked towards the bus stop.

Calum was quiet beside Mayah, until he asked. "Are you okay?"

"I guess," she responded. "Does it ever just occasionally hit you that your life is so perfect most of the time that nothing really stands out? But you keep looking like you are happy? Like, you almost wish you could, I don't know, have a depression candle?"

"No, not really. Not nowadays, anyway. I feel like I have spent more time in my recent life feeling the opposite. Like I needed a happiness candle. And I would never want to go back to feeling the way that...I've felt lately."

Goosebumps covered Mayah's body. She noticed how his voice became a bit quieter, a bit deeper. There was something about what he said that she could have closed her eyes for a solid minute and just felt it.

The bus arrived, so they both stepped up into it and found a bench.

Mayah took a while to think of something to say. To give some space. It felt like there was something fragile hanging. Light panels of ice that would shatter if she spoke wrong.

"Stop at Dove and Standard, any takers?" the driver called out.

Calum got up. "I'll see you later." He walked away and waved back at her.

The doors closed behind him, but just as soon as the bus started to lurch forward Mayah spoke up. "Sorry, please stop."

Thankfully he was gracious enough to let her out.

She stepped down onto the sidewalk and about caught up to him several feet ahead of the bus. "Hey, Calum!"

He turned around to face her.

"Thank you. I mean, I feel like you were trying to cheer me up or something when we were in the candle shop, and--"

"--It's okay. Just remember that being..." he looked off to the side for a minute, "...happy... is important, too." He looked back at Mayah.

She continued, "I want you to know that, while I might have a distorted view of things, it's okay to feel down sometimes and if you ever feel like that, I don't judge you for it."

"Good night, Mayah."

"Good night, Calum" she responded, watching him walk off.

Mayah just stood there, so the bus went on. She started to run after it, but then decided it was fine. She would rather walk a bit farther than normal, anyways.

Thank you for reading a short story by Hope Reynolds.

November 20, 2021 04:54

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1 comment

Benjamin Howard
22:00 Feb 18, 2022

Sometimes the most critical moments are when one stops to listen to the silence between or behind the words. Far too many are thinking of what they're going to say next or how they can convince or compell another towards their point of view. It just builds mistrust/ego, and I think you expressed their friendship beautifully--both in what was said verbally and what was said in other ways. There is a stamp to your writings that are uniquely you, so keep writing! No one is appreciated by everyone, but the ones who do...care.


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