Paredolia II - Mellifluence Perfumes
by and for Mellifluence Perfumes
Some perfumes remind one of times unlived. Some remind one of times bygone. Paredolia II was a very personal experience to us as it felt like putting a scent on a moment we never lived for ourselves but through the character of a novel we are working on. As such and as tears welled in our eyes upon realising this, we felt it would be better to let such character speak for himself. Speak for Paredolia II…
“You knew Phostia was near before opening your eyes. When we reach its coasts, the air carries a new scent, the Sun dilutes itself into countless perfumes, of saffron or of myrrh, of pine trees and plum trees and labdanum and mastic. The soil, red of heat, cools down as the sea spray rises, lending it its notes of silex and leather and crushed hay. Slouched against the varnished rail, it seemed as though you could hear the bells of the thuribles in the Temple and breathe in the rancid smell of oil lamps, that indescribable of candles as they are put out in the silence of prayer and that, even more subtle, which impregnated your life and dreams and nights.
That of incense rising in sensual wisps under every alcove of the Palace and Temple, opulent plumes nestled in priests’ beards and garments; the slight hints of rose and jasmine and lavender and nard, the pompous aroma of cinnamon hanging heavy in the air and even the wafts of green incense and amber and myrrh coming from the bazaar. They were all part of you, fumigating your memories so they might never leave Phostia.
Somewhere in between the skyscraping towers of the High City, there lies a secret garden where lilacs curl up on orange trees – a place bereft of all worthly troubles, stuck in-between heaven and sea, where dreams bloom amidst a creation unsullied. You still remembered its fountains and freshwaters and its arches covered in pink and blue mosaics and the perfect lining of blooming bougainvillaeas, and its floor covered in spicy roses, crisp with dew.
You could not wait to see again the white cobblestones of the harbour and the hanging gardens of the Palace and their peaceful silence ; to meander through the sloping alleys around Smith Lane and to walk along the Arsenal and smell its woody, leathery and salty vapours.
To walk in the shadow of hierachs’ mansions, and merchants and bankers ; hop over the old canals and traverse the rows of stalls where people buy and barter and hear again the music of Phostia, its accent, its sounds, the common noises of its days nonchalant or lively ; vivid or sleepy, sleepy or dreamy, dreamy or buried. Behind the blue facades of the Temples, in the secret of their patios, corpses leave the world in fiery shrouds and as priests mourn their passing, the living dance so as to fill the void, laughing and drinking until they’re out of breath and rhythm and voice.
This feastful atmosphere is why they call this city « The Merry ». Behind its high walls, the commoner sleeps and enjoy the seconds and the minutes as they come, from dusk till dawn when he leaves the fair arms of a maiden or a boy.
And there, between the streets of laughter, are bubbles of sheer silence – virgin cloistres, monasteries, hospitals and colleges where men and women live remote, devoted to their supernatural vocations. Widows weave, alchemists blend underground and monks singing and pray in their monasteries, hanging off the hills’ sides like rochy beehives.
Phostia was not only a merchant city, it was the capital of a phantom country, mummified in its every arch and tower. She birthed you like a home, she consoled you like a wife, she fed you like a mother, she assaulted your every dream like a mistress, she mistreated you like a sister and you would protect her like your daughter. Every photian had a story to share about this city. They all had a particular relationship with her. This small enclave of freedom in a realm enslaven in pharisaical mores saw the passions of men unleashed, hypnotised as they were by her sensual curves and her eyes shinier than jewels.
Her long alabaster arms came around to embrace you and you, like a little child overwhelmed in his own fluids, you would let her do. Surreptitiously, she had won you over, you the terrible child of Esmer. She lustfully invited you and you surrendered. Little by little, its fragrance of turmeric and marjoram took over your nostrils and lungs – you could breathe no more and you drowned in this ocean of vices. You savoured your return, you savoured her sweet embrace, you savoured her tricks and treats, however naughty they might be. You needed not see it because you knew it. Because you knew her.
Eyes still closes, the pores of your whole body open, you were floating : the wind tickled your earlobes and the strands of your hair, the Sun kissed your forehead and cheekbones… Such moment, none could ever steal. No drop of blood nor pain ; no war nor foe ; no trouble nor imminent death ; no woman nor man ; no crown, no sceptre ; neither riches nor ruin ; nothing, nothing, nothing, not even the Gods, could have stolen such moment.
You savoured it with your every tastebud, with your every goosebump, with your every eyelash dancing under the hot Southern winds. The clamour of merchants and galley men eased into the song of seagulls, into the songs of seamen as they prayed the Mother-Water.
To the very deep marrow of your bones, you could feel the inebriating, invisible pulse of this shining city.
Ere you opened your eyes…”
Such is Paredolia II.
In this city
I hear you.