One day while walking home, the smell of jasmine crept into Polly’s nose, eyes, ears and mouth. She stopped to breathe it in, and to see where it had come from.
On a low stone wall surrounding someone’s house the vine grew wild. She was fascinated: she had never before seen or smelled the plant here. Nor could she remember ever having seen the house engulfed by the jasmine’s scent. She wanted to take a cutting and surround her own house with this perfume.
There was a tall, severe-looking old woman sitting on the verandah outside the house. The woman waved. Her wave was short, curt, efficient. Polly waved back. She couldn’t help but feel clumsy as her hand flopped around on the end of her wrist.
Polly glanced at the jasmine. The woman sat back in her high-backed chair and watched her, daring her. Suddenly the woman’s wave felt like a slap and Polly was embarrassed.
She decided she would come back to the wall tonight, under cover of darkness, to get her cutting.