Why wear it? Because I was only kidding yesterday when I declared that I could reserve some modicum of steely-eyed stoicism for today. I barely slept at all for anxiety and dread, and as the rectangle of the bedroom window began to lighten to dove grey, I knew that it would be hopeless to pretend to a strength which I did not feel. Hence, Arabie.
What does it do? It enfolds me in a floating fantasy of scent that manages to draw all of the other senses into its spell: taste (mead infused with cumin and caraway; honey-soaked baklava), touch (a silk djellabah whispering against bare skin); sight (river reeds undulating in the breeze); sound (the rhythmic tok-tok of a doumbek beckoning from the other bank), movement (the delicacy of gesturing hands, the staccato shimmy of hips and shoulders, the fluidity of pose as if one is wading through a shimmering current).
How do I feel? Sheltered in the palm of a divine hand.
Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse, 1891 (Gallery Oldham)