Late one night, about six months ago, I was bored. My friend in America was bored himself. So we just started talking in fiction. I managed to create a little story including all our chats. I rarely write fiction. The story includes all the parts of our chats only. SO this was basically a conversation that ended up into a story.
London is really cold this year. Well, we are known to have blue weather for chunk of the year, but this time it is relatively colder. As I drive down the London Bridge, it is the season’s first snow. The city looks white. And the snow sparkles as lights from the buildings reflect upon the shiny surface. I see two silhouettes in the thick early morning fog walking on the other side of the bridge. I park my little car on the side as I try to get a clearer look. I try clearing the mist off the windshield to get a better look at the figures in the distance.
The first snow can be slushy and slippery and I decide to walk towards them. As they get to this side of the bridge, I realize it is none other than Mr. Hopkins and his niece.Hopkins was a master of creating the most exquisite perfumes and people from all over Europe came to buy his creations. Celebrities, the rich and the famous, everybody was mesmerized by Hopkins and the fragrances he created. His little shop boasted of these moments from his career. Little frames that were now fading held pictures of Hopkins and his rich elite clientele smiling and beaming holding his creations in little glass bottles. The highlight of his career as a perfume maker was none other than when the Queen herself ordered his very special Moroccan Rose fragrance.
My earliest memories of Hopkins were of visiting his little store in the lane right next to Harrods with my grandfather when I was a child. My grandfather was a really famous wrestler and would wear a new fragrance each time he had a fight. Mr. Hopkins, a great friend of my grandfather, always had an exquisite range of fragrances ready well in advance that he created just for his friend. My grandfather was extravagant in his ways and of course wined and dined with the best of the crowd. But Mr. Hopkins was one man who knew him for real. They grew up together. And the differences in their lives never distanced them. I cannot recall my last meeting with Mr. Hopkins, that’s how long ago it was.
Those memories urged me to say Hello to Mr. Hopkins. And of course, his niece was popular so there could have been no better reason to get a chance to see her. Margaret was talking about her. I am yet to meet her after she moved into town from Leeds. Maybe I could ask her to join me at Finnegan’s for wine tonight. As I was lost in my thoughts, I completely missed on closing my car’s door. That’s when it happened. Charlie, my brown mastiff jumped off the car and started running in the other direction.
Yes, Not again. Charlie was cute, but terribly disobedient and often been caught by the neighbors in their yards chasing around their cats. I have had to pay hundred of pounds in getting him trained to become sociable, but I guess Charlie had his own ways. After all he was a British dog. Strong and yes, stubborn, but everybody loved him. As I tried looking for Charlie, I heard a loud splash in the water on the other side of the bridge. I hurried to the edge, worried and realized that it was an old man who was throwing stones in the water. As I look for Charlie, the homeless guy asks for some money. “It is Christmas. Leave me a gift, Jesus will praise you.”
I rush to the car and pull out a doll with a missing limb. My fourth ex-girlfriend Nina gave me that doll. One day I randomly lost interest in her. Charlie was irritating me and I tore a limb out to make him a toy. Nina, she was caring, loving and maybe that’s why I never paid enough attention to her. I wanted to discard the stuff she gave me for a while now, but for some vague reason it never happened. Our brief time together was casual and fun. Yes, that limb is now Charlie’s toy at home. Just as I start thinking about the past, Charlie rushes into the car from somewhere. I leave him in the car and start walking towards the perfume store. The early morning traffic has created hustle bustle and of course I can feel the holiday season in the air. Mr. Hopkins and his niece are chattering with a lady in the store. I can’t really see his niece’s face through the glass. I am about to enter the store and she turns around to bill the products. And that is when I see her. Nina.