This is perhaps the 8th time that Yuuki is reading Anna Karenin. She doesn’t know what but there is something in the novel that captivates her and she couldn’t help but buy a copy every time she goes on a cruise. Since her husband died 6 years ago, Yuuki has acquired the strange habit of going on cruises by herself to nowhere every year.
As she was immersing herself in the all too familiar paragraph, a certain scent took her off the page. It is a very familiar scent but is something she has very vague memories of. She tried to recall where and when she has smelled that scent before but failed. It is just a very familiar scent, a scent that seems to evoke something deep in her heart, something that she wanted to remember, something that is important, but also something that she can no longer remember.
With a deep sense of frustration, she has no choice but to continue reading but her mind could just not let go of the thought of the scent. In just that instant, a voice called out her name. “Yuuki, is that you?”
She looked up and saw a man, in his early sixties perhaps, looking at her quizzically but with a pair of eyes that seems so young, so eager. For a moment, her heart started beating and pulsating violently and she found herself at a lost for words. “Is this him?” she thought. “It couldn’t be. He is dead.”
After 40 years of not seeing each other, he can’t simply just appear. She still remember the occasion when they had to be separated against their will. They were so much in love then. Their love didn’t come easy and they have gone through many hardship to be together but finally, they still had to be separated. Everyone they knew, everyone that loved them, cried for them.
Seeing him again after 40 years, she felt the same warmth. Perhaps she is still in love with him. Perhaps the love never really did go away and even if she is married, it is only him, him alone, that is in her heart all these while. There is a certain longing, she wanted to just to throw herself and hug him, but social protocol does not allow it at this moment. Plus the fact that they are both more than 60 years old now.
“Takao, is that you? It has been such a long time. A really long time”.
“Yuuki, yes, indeed it has been a long time.”
“How are you?”
And Yuuki invited him to sit down and they chatted for the whole day, and well into the night, as if there is no time to catch up on all those lost years. In their heart, they knew that they still love each other deeply. They are their first love. And will always be their first, and only love.