Our love affair started in the park in the late 90s. That day I wore baggy jeans, blow-dried hair a-la Rachel Green in early episodes of Friends and my heart on my sleeve - I was helplessly in love with him. He wore mostly brown, his signature colour, the cool air of indifference around him and a smell of rain.
Ever since that first date we made a pact to meet once a year. Come rain or shine, we meet up and go for a long walk and a catch up. Not once did he fail me, nor I him.
And just like every single year, I open the door and he is already there, waiting for me. I throw myself into his arms. His embrace is so familiar; I smile and inhale his refreshing smell. It makes me remember why I fell in love with him all those years ago.We walk in a friendly silence, the kind of silence that only two friends can share. The memories, like gusts of wind, sweep around us. The peaceful years back in Ukraine where we spent hours roaming the parks, the aroma of mum’s apple pies she baked every time he visited and our all-time favourite - the shoe shopping trip.
Shopping has always been one of our favourite activities, although my bank balance has never shared our enthusiasm. So later on in the day we indulge ourselves in a little retail therapy. I trust him implicitly; he has such a great taste and knows exactly what suits me. He picks warm earthly colours for me and they go so well with my skin tone.
Back at home as I am cooking dinner I add a handful of chopped up chillies. A bottle of Rioja is already opened and left to ‘breathe’. It was him who introduced me to spicy food and deep rich flavours.
And as we settle on a sofa and I pull a blanket over my shoulders, I feel his breath on my cheek. I tell him everything, I share my deepest fears. He listens and strokes my hair. And with every stroke I feel better and before long I know the answers to all my questions. And I feel inspired.
At night I open my window and curl up in my bed. I watch the curtain softly flutter against the window. And as I start drifting off to sleep, I feel his kiss, his brisk fleeting kiss on my lips. I smile. He has arrived. Autumn is here.