Christmas was just at the corner, although my family wasn’t very keen on celebrating Christmas,
I enjoyed it. I don’t know if it was just me or anyone else who could smell a particular essence
during December. I can’t describe it adequately; I could sense that essence at the time of night
only. Now that the time of Christmas has arrived yet again this year, that smell has also
returned, and unfortunately, I’m the only one who smells it this time too. But along with the
scent, a particular memory also returned.
On a fine evening of Christmas eve, I was returning home from my friend’s house. As it was
December, each time I exhaled, our warm temperature returned smoke. It was so cool for me
and the others when we were kids. We would take our arms in such a fashion as we saw the
adults do it. We used to pretend that we were holding a cigarette between our index and the
middle finger and attach our fingers to our lips, and as I said before, the temperature was
friendly as it helped us with the smoke each time we exhaled. As I was only two minutes away
from my house’s gate. My nose picked up another smell besides the strange smell. I couldn’t
help but follow that smell that led me to an old house. It was a one-storied building with a
beautiful front yard. It didn’t look aged in appearance; I only addressed the house as old
because it had been emptied for many years. This house caught my eyes several times; I
always thought about what kind of story this house held all over those years. But I never probed
much about it later on. As I found the smell’s source, I decided to go inside to quench my
curiosity I held for all these years finally. I knocked twice over the wooden door and waited for
someone to open it. As I was waiting, my eyes fell over a pair of boots. There was a word
written on the boot’s footbed; it said “Here.” I frowned as I never heard of this company before.
My attention from those boots diverted as I listened to a click from inside as someone finally
opened the door.
“Well, hello there.” Said a man is smiling down at me. He couldn’t be more than twenty-five
years old. He was wearing a green cap over his head. He had brown eyes and was of average
“Uh…hello? I didn’t mean to intrude. I was passing by as I got diverted by a smell.” I said,
returning the smile and rubbing the nape of my neck.
“Oh yes, the smell you are talking about was a secret recipe I was performing. Why don’t you
come inside?” He stepped aside from the door so that I could get in.
I happily took his offer and went inside. As I was going inside, I noticed that there was only one
pair of shoes in the shoe rack, which must mean that this man must be living alone, then whose
pair of boots were placed outside? The man was very generous as he gave me a piece of
cookie which he was making.
“Tell me honestly, how is it?” he said as he sat across me at the table.
As soon as I took a bite of that cookie, my eyes closed instantly as I wanted to savor every
moment with that cookie. I never ate something so delicious as this; with each bite, the butter
from those cookies was oozing out, which made me crave for it more. The man smiled again,
looking at my reaction. He understood he didn’t need any other explanation. My response was
pretty much self-explanatory. Without any further delay, I asked, “if you don’t mind can I have
“Of course, I’m glad that you asked.” He got up and went towards the kitchen counter. He
switched on the oven to 340-degree Fahrenheit and started lining two baking sheets with
parchment paper. As he was doing his preparation for the delicious magic, my eyes wandered
off a bit. I noticed a trolley bag. I figured he just moved in and didn’t get the time to unpack.
“So, how long are you thinking of staying here?” I asked.
“I’m not staying for long. I will be leaving the day after tomorrow.” He replied, taking a large bowl
from one of the shelves of his kitchen.
“Why so soon?”
“I only come here during Christmas to…”
“To make cookies?”
“Yeah, that too.” He said as he started to pour something in the large bowl; from what I gathered
later, it was vanilla extract.
“What else?” I asked, frowning.
He stopped pouring and looked up towards me, smiling. “I’m not going to tell my life story to
someone without a name,” he said.
My cheeks heated up in embarrassment. He was right. Where are my manners? I strolled up to
someone’s doorstep and demanded more cookies and didn’t even bother to introduce myself.
“It’s Keya…my name is Keya,” I said again, scratching the nape of my neck.
“No last name?”
“My name is Aryan Chowdhury.” He smiled as he started to put butter and sugar in that giant
“So, Mr. Chowdhury, it seems like you visited this place many times…”
“Yes, it was my family home once, then we moved from here.”
“My grandfather decided that he didn’t want to live here anymore.” He said as he started to mix
“So, he left the family and became a traveler.”
“It seems like he was quite a man, but why did he suddenly make a life-changing decision,” I
said, chuckling a bit. It was sporadic for me to see older men making some life-changing
decisions and choosing an adventurous life.
“He didn’t put it in words, but we all kind of guessed.”
He suddenly stopped mixing, and with a severe look on his face, he replied, “You see, my
grandmother died the year we decided to move from here, so…”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Where is your grandfather now?” No wonder the older man wanted
to leave. His wife was dead, maybe becoming a traveler was the only way to overcome the
“I don’t know, but I have a feeling that the only place he can come is his home.”
I stayed silent as I didn’t want to probe any further. But I watched him intently. I watched him
eagerly as he sifted flour and cornstarch and started mixing. His actions were smooth. He made
it seem all too easy. With all the mixing going on, he finally turned all those substances into a
“You do make delicious cookies, Mr. Chowdhury.”
“Thank you, Miss Ray; this was a recipe I learned from my grandmother.” He replied as he
transferred the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip and started to pipe the
dough into small circles.
After some time, Mr. Chowdhury brought a plate of cookies to the table and placed it In front of
me. “Here are your cookies, you know. If you want the recipe, I can give it to you.”
“Yes, please, if you don’t mind,” I replied as I started devouring those cookies.
“You make these cookies to honor her memory?”
“Yes, it is also a feeble attempt to lure grandpa.” He said, running a hand through his luscious
“What made you come to this house?”
“The tempting smell of your cookies,” I said, chuckling again.
“Exactly, the smell. I thought it was my grandfather who knocked. You see, these particular
cookies are what made my grandfather fall for my grandmother.” He said, chuckling.
“Wow, so there is a love story behind it.” This story gets sadder by the minute.
“Yes, the way you followed the smell was the same way my grandfather also followed it, and the
rest is history.”
I slowly nodded my head and again started eating. After few bites, I finally got the courage to
ask the question that’s been eating me up.
“Mr. Chowdhury, I noticed a pair of vintage boots on your doorstep. Are those yours?”
“No, they are my grandmother’s.”
“Was this also an attempt to lure him?”
“You can say that. If my grandfather comes back following the smell, he would see her boots at
the doorstep, so…”
“It would feel like he is coming home to his wife again.” It seemed like I finished his sentence.
“You got me.” He said, smiling.
After I finished eating all the five cookies, I took that secret recipe from him, and then he
escorted me towards the door. As I was about to leave, I quickly turned back and asked him,
“Was this the first time you tried this trick?”
He was taken aback by my sudden enthusiasm, but he replied smiling anyway, “Yes, and I
strongly believe that he will come tomorrow. Both of them will be finally here.”
After I left that house, I was left wondering whether his grandfather would come home or not.
Although I never went to that house, if he managed to make his grandfather fall for this trick, I
wouldn’t want to be the third wheel in their long-awaited reunion.
I practiced that magic trick several times, but I couldn’t bring out that delicious essence. A part
of me knew that I couldn’t reach his level of perfection, but I tried anyway. After many attempts, I
finally got it right, but I couldn’t bring out that delicious smell; heaven knew how much I craved
for that. By the time I got it right, it was next year’s Christmas. I took my self-made cookies and
headed over to that particular house. As I reached in front of that house, I saw another pair of
boots at the doorstep beside Mr. Chowdhury’s grandmother’s, and the strange thing was that
those particular boots also contained the same word on its footbed, the term was “HERE.” I
frowned again, but a sudden realization hit me. After understanding what was going on, I quietly
smiled at myself as my nose invited that familiar delicious smell. Both of them are finally here