Writer | Editor


Photo by Emily Ibarra

Only One

The smell struck before anything else. That heady smell of lilacs and fresh laundry greeted me like an old friend. Stepping through the doorway I breathed deeply, my mind flooding with memories of nights spent by the fire, laughing and whispering soft secrets into a lover’s ear. 

Shaking off memories of his touch, those warm, rough hands, I walked across the living room, heels clicking on the hardwood floor. Bracing myself, I flung open the bedroom door. Scenes of nights long since past swam behind my eyes. 

“You’re the only one I want.” 

Rough hands, squeezing soft, paper-thin lace against my skin so tightly. Soft sighs and the scent of his skin… the images surged and crashed into one another, leaving me breathless. 

I crossed the room and stood in front of the old antique dresser. I’d found it at a consignment shop down the road, and although it took up a huge part of the room (always a point of contention between us), I loved it. The drawer squeaked as I pulled it open, that same sharp sound of wood on metal. The familiar smell of cedar met my nose, and I inhaled deeply.

I looked down at my treasures, folded neatly in rows. Rich satin and delicate lace in soft, muted tones greeted me, their beauty almost painful. I gingerly reached for one, savoring its feel in my hands, remembering those bitterly cold nights spent keeping one another warm. That dance, the ebb and flow; we’d rise and fall together, trying to pull away, but always falling into one another again and again like careless ocean waves. 

I snapped the lid of the suitcase shut, and walked steadily to the door. With every step my broken past rushed through me. Forcing it out of my mind I remembered those soft, sweet treasures in my possession. As I stepped through the doorway and clutched the handle of the suitcase, I felt the rain on my face, cold and perfect. Walking out of the house and into the rain with a smile tugging at the corners of my mouth, I didn't look back. 

Arielle Mullen