April 19, 2012
I have a couple bottles of perfume. They sit on my bathroom counter top within easy reach. I wore one of them nearly every day for work- a inexpensive one, but it came from England and I loved it. Another smells like roses and made me feel sophisticated and girly. They're now reserved for date nights and other special occasions. A thin layer of dust has settled over them.
Sometimes I think about Millie, and how she will remember my scent.
My mom had perfume, I'm sure, but I don't recall what kinds or the shapes of the bottles. Instead, she smelled like Oil of Olay, which she dabbed into her hands and put on religiously before her make-up. She smelled like her homemade rolls straight from the oven. She smelled like the tomatoes in her garden. She was perfumed with the life she lived, which was the life as a mother of five kids.
When I was younger, my dad always came home from work smelling like the diesel fire engines at the campus fire house. I can still walk into the station he works in now and being transported back in time, when I was wearing his old blue work tees as nightgowns that came down to my ankles. It's funny how many memories are tied up these sorts of things.
I've always wanted to find that signature scent that would be mine, one that I would wear into my eighties. But I've never found it. Even though I like those bottles on the counter, they're not me. They aren't what I want Millie or my grandchildren or great grandchildren to remember me by.
Maybe it's not for me to choose, though. Maybe, instead, it will be for Millie to tell me. And years from now, she'll sit down with me somewhere, put her head on my shoulder, and say, "Mama, I remember..." I know that whatever she remembers will be better than any pretty glass bottle I can find.
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