As she runs downstairs, late as always, her perfume lingers on the landing then slowly makes its way under my door, floats across the room and seeps into my nostrils which are half asleep. They had determinedly been ignoring my ears’ attempts to wake up by listening to the morning news, and would have stayed happily horizontal for many more minutes if they hadn’t caught the waft of that aroma. It shakes them to their senses with a long sigh of contentment, and a Hollywood-sounding “That’s my girl”.
For this smell is her smell. She leaves it on her scarves and coats, cushions and fluffy blankets, towels and sheets. It saunters through the house with an air of superiority. A self-satisfying strut. Because it’s strong. Strongest in the morning, fading slowly to a hovering hint as the day changes from grey to blue to black.
I meet it in the street sometimes and always remark “La Vie est Belle” to its bearer. She usually agrees with a nod and a smile, or a long look of “Are you talking to me, you foreign weirdo?” But this is France remember, and the words make sense here, but my pushy interruptions often don’t.
One day she will take it to another home. Her home. The one she will make for herself and her loved one. The one she wants to make now. And it will settle into her furniture and her rugs, her bedclothes and her bookshelves. And I will smell it only when I go there. For a cup of tea, or a sandwich or a home-made four-course meal. Nudge, nudge…
But I will keep a little bottle here and I will spray it when I need to. When I want a little reminder that life is indeed beautiful. And that she is one of the reasons why.
Photo courtesy of Lancome.com