They were all there- beautiful, longing to be held, wrapped enticingly in fragrant vanilla and shimmering gold. With that perfect tilt of his head, he announced that the vanilla-like intoxicating fragrance was the result of lignin (a chemical compound used to make paper). He continued running his lean fingers along the fraying edges of the book and said that the molecular structure of lignin was similar to that of vanilla. That accounted for the smell. She nodded and tried her best to look interested. Not that it mattered, but she did not want to offend him by her lack of interest. In any case molecules would mean two entirely different things to them. He would have laughed had she told him what she thought of molecular similarity. He had taken all the trouble, so there had to be coffee in the offing. Very mathematically he positioned himself on the window ledge and said that the origin of the phrase ‘in the offing’ was nautical. He pointed towards the large expanse of the sea and explained that ‘in offing’ was that part of the ocean that one could see from the shore and that is why when something is said to be in the offing, it is not that far away. And he turned around, looked at her directly and his eyes seemed to ask, “Are you in the offing?” Her eyes took a long familiar circuitous route along the edge of the sea before finally meeting his. She immediately looked away. He was crazy, totally mad and all she had wanted to ask was, “Do you have an answer to everything?” But the words hiding in the confines of her throat, preferred their molecular anonymity.
She gathered the fragile books in her arms and the musty-grassy-vanilla like smell evoked nostalgic memories of sunny summer days and misty winter mornings that hung like a cloud that had descended from the dark interiors of a different world. Right in front of her stood the sea: pounding mysteriously. The breeze rose discreetly and almost secretively gathered in its arms the faint scent of a familiar cologne, a peppery aroma of some delicacy and a tinge of vanilla. The vanilla sea leaped and bounced, paying no heed to any kind of boundary.
“When I was a child I used to think the whole world was a giant complicated book. And whatever we were doing, was part of some chapter,” she said, carefully steering away from any talk.....and all that she could feel was as if she was drowning in vanilla sea............
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