Night blooming star jasmine takes him back to childhood’s summer days of enchantment.
Night blooming star jasmine is the scent of my childhood. It grew in beds about our house and its sweet scent perfumed our summers. Yesterday I went for an evening walk and the fragrance of it growing in a yard took me back.
Not to a particular summer evening of childhood but to summer in general. And summer as a child for me meant swimming. We spent most summer days at the beach. The cool salt water was a welcome relief to the inferno heat of the afternoon sun. But swimming in the summer also meant Johnny. He lived two doors down and was blessed with both having a pool in his backyard and a color TV. My family had neither. And, he was Samoan.
My brother and I and Johnny would dress in sarongs. I just looked it up. The Samoan name for sarong is lava lava. But that is not what we would call them. We used the Tahitian name, pareu. We would lay in the warm sun on the cement deck of the pool, and periodically dive into the pool, naked, to cool off. The pool had a decal on the bottom in the shallow end, the trademark of the pool manufacturer. It was a mermaid. We dove to the bottom and kissed the mermaid.
Johnny had a sister, a much older sister. She was a blossoming teenager. One day she appeared as a phantom behind the sliding glass door. The aqua of the pool reflected on the window and the heat waves radiating from cement deck distorted the vision. She stood goddess-like, her long hair flowing dressed in a pareu, with a hibiscus flower behind her ear, the embodiment of feminine enchantment.
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