Rachel finds an antique thesaurus at the July flea market. 98 degrees fahrenheit, heat rolls in iridescent swirls from the cobblestone ground. No one can blame her—willowy Rachel—for wearing a thin sundress with nothing more, unless Birkenstocks and ankle bells count.
Sheer: translucent, filmy, floaty, diaphanous
Her body is a celebration under gauze. She opens the tome and lifts it to her nose, inhaling deeply.
Moldy: fusty, dank, stale
It comes right back: the October she shelved books in the university library. She loved the fourth floor most. So desolate the lights were kept off, hundreds of bound dissertations rarely referenced, the perfect place to hide her shift away.
“Can I help you?”
Rachel lowers the thesaurus and sees a guy smiling at her. With his long, dark hair pulled back and his shaggy beard, he could be Alex Ebert or Jared Leto circa 2014 or a Portland Jesus. But he’s not. He’s the man manning the table of moldy books while looking at the rosy outline of her linen covered nipples. She loves being seen.
“How much?” she asks.
“Let me see.” He reaches for the book. There’s nothing penciled on the front page. “How much do you want to pay?”
Price: fare, cost, bounty, sacrifice
“I need to smell it again.”
He laughs and hands the book to her. This time, when her nose is pressed to the inner spine, between the page that starts with irrevocable and the page that ends with itch, she keeps her gaze on his blue eyes and white teeth. She breathes in—dank, fusty, stale—and watches his tongue wet his mouth. A slip of pink on pink. It’s not creepy, more of a subconscious habit.
Lip: edge, brink, verge
She wants to taste him. A breeze whirls her skirt, pulling his eyes lower.
“Would you trade it for dinner?” she says.
They make a plan.
Intention: objective, target, aspiration, desire
And as she walks away, the silver bells—warm on the bones of her tan feet—chime as if foretelling a triumph.