Perfume Signature

If my father was born in 1894 I wasn’t planned. He didn’t want kids. Probably because he was scared about how they would turn out. Scared he couldn’t protect them. Especially a daughter.

But if my father was born in 1894…my mother was very beautiful and funny. And daring. And she fell in love. And he fell in love.

And I arrived.

If my father was born in 1894 I’m inherently different than the parents who raised me. Not just by chance. The genetic fluke of inheriting few of their apparent genes but more their recessive genes. But by having entirely different parents.

I’d be Dutch, German, Norwegian, possibly French, and English. Possibly a little Irish and or Scottish. Mostly Norwegian, Dutch, German, and English? My last name would be English.

And no, I get the very strong sense that if my father was born in 1894 he…very much thinks of me as his daughter.

If.

If?

My hair is wavy/curly. Why is my hair like that? My eyes are brown. Why? …It gets weirder every time I try to logically work my way out of it. I’ve always thought brown eyes were dominant. Neither of the parents who raised me have brown eyes. Both have straight dark brown hair and hazel eyes… I had dark blond hair as a youth. It’s grown darker and curlier as I’ve aged. Not so with either of the parents who raised me.

It’s exceedingly weird to be me in that way. And it’s not that I don’t like myself. I love myself. In a healthy way. I just don’t…understand how to translate my existence into an understandable format. And people aren’t as empathetic anymore anyway.

…And I think part of the reason I’ve never found romantic love is because I’ve never found a man who can imagine himself being with me. My soul, if my father was born in 1894, is from a very long time ago. If my father was born in 1894 I should have died of old age by now or be close to it. …Of old age. But even if my father wasn’t born in 1894 it fits… Because somehow me, as a concept, is lost today.

And so many lies have been told now about the past. We’ve dismissed so much truth. And the people who knew the truth…that I came from…are all dead. And yet I didn’t exist, outside of the mind of God.

Men look at me and find me attractive…but then can’t place me. They jog their memories…and can’t figure out where I belong. I don’t seem like my peers. But then that makes me…odd. And too scary to analyze. So I must be…like my peers. …Somehow.

But, if my father was born in 1894 I am just different. Probably.

In 1955 I’d have been myself but…fit. If my father was born in 1894 I would have fit in in 1955. I’m not an “old soul.” I’m not “grandma-vibe.” If my father was born in 1894 I am that. I’m not vintage inspired. I’m actual vintage. It’s not an act.

“I’m far creepier sounding around ghosts. I sound like them.” says Lacey. “Like they did while they were around, so to speak.”

“Huh!” says a Boomer. “So you like old stuff. It’s comforting to you. But also prefer it.”

They laugh.

“Do you find contemporary art jarring?” asks a Gen X female, aware that Lacey doesn’t know.

“Yes. Very much so.”

“So it’s like if an Silent Generation member created a child with a 25 year old.” says a Boomer. “Right now.”

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“And they grew-up with the kids of Millennials. But then in their 30’s they grew increasingly estranged, culturally.” the Boomer goes on.

“And they loved jamming to 80’s music with Gen X, but pretended not to. And started ‘whatever’ on their own.” the same Boomer says.

“Yes. And wanted to wear authentic grunge.” says Lacey.

Someone laughs. “Yes! Authentic grunge.”

“Endlessly watched The Office when they felt…depressed.” says someone else.

“And then some Gen X ghost. Who died at 83 of natural causes. Decided to start chatting with this person.” They think. “While they watched Mad Men.”

“Isn’t the costuming so legit?” they might say to the person’s subconscious.

“Janie Bryant is…a treasure!” says the odd-duck to the ghost.

“Oh no!” says a dead Millennial.

“But we had Betty White!” says another dead Millennial.

“Love Betty White!” says the odd-duck to no one. And then for some reason they wish they’d been alive to experience Facebook when it first started. Just out of curiosity.

“You’re so lucky. Oh my gosh! You didn’t miss anything, really. You’re lucky you didn’t have to see 9/11 in real time.” says a dead mean-girl Millennial female.

“Damn right.” says the odd-duck. Then they put on Britney Spears, suck a (then) retro Blow-pop and dance alone in their bedroom.

“So you should watch so many movies. And The Office. Oh! I can hardly wait for you to get into the Jim and Pam saga.” says a Millennial ghost enjoying rewatching scenes authentically re-enacted from their youth in the late 1990’s and 2000’s.

“Oh no. I’ve already seen that. I don’t get why we like Jim. Isn’t he like…evil?” they say to no one.

They pause. Look around their room. Nobody is there. They look down they’re hallway. At their parent’s house. It’s 2054. But it feels like 1998. Maybe the early 2000’s?

“Oh! Oh! She loves The Backstreet Boys?!” says a terrified Millennial.

“Why does that worry you?” asks a dead Gen X man.

“I liked the Backstreet Boys! And her other tastes remind me far too much of myself.” the dead Millennial named Lisa says.

“Hey! Baccarat Rouge! Baccarat Rouge!” says another dead Gen X man.

“Baccarat Rouge?!” she says to herself.

She accesses it. It arrives at her house in a day. She opens the box and smells it. It overwhelms her.

“Oh my gosh! They were so lucky.” she thinks.

The dead ghost of Lisa stalks this odd-duck worried she’ll date a guy like she did and be miserable.

“Swipe left!” yells another Millennial ghost.

And then at age 45…after she does well in her career as a doctor…buys her own house…avoids marriage…and can’t find a good man she falls apart while her dog watches. An episode of Mad Men comes on. She starts weeping.

A Millennial man who just died a year before in 2053, at age 70 in an accident, watches her. She looks like the first girl he kissed in the 8th grade. There are a few differences. Her eyes are blue. Her hair is shorter. Otherwise there’s not much difference.

“You’re really going to do this to yourself?!” yells a Boomer.

“I never found anyone I loved like her.” he says.

“Dude, you were in the eighth grade. What makes you think she’s worth getting hurt over?” asks a dead Gen Xer.

“Yeah, but she was perfect.” he says. “I secretly always wanted to see if it was real, but we lost touch and she’s with her soulmate now.”

“You know what God says.” says a dead Boomer.

“That she would have loved me, but there’s someone better. I just need to trust Him.”

“He’s amazing.” says the Boomer with conviction.

“I know. But I’m still learning to trust Him. You know what happened with my parents.” he says.

“Yeah.”

“Dude! My dude… What if… What if…she is that someone?!” asks Lisa pointing to the odd-duck’s head.

“Can she hear me?!” he asks.

“Yeah… She hears us. It’s not a choice.” says Lisa sadly.

“Okay! Cool!” he says.

God intervenes. Moderates.

The next day the odd-duck is watching 9/11 footage with the dude. She rests her head accidentally on his shoulder when she cries.

“It’s okay! There’s life after death! We didn’t know that at time. But nobody was unaccounted for by God that day. I’ve asked Him. It’s okay. I’m more worried about why you’re so sad. Lisa says you’re starting to feel like all men are toxic. Is that right?” he asks.

She throws her head back against her sofa. Sighs.

“It really does feel like all men are toxic. Like…”. She gets up and goes into her bathroom and considers what facial mask she should use. “I just want a day devoted to relaxing and wearing facial masks. That’s so weird.” she says. “I mean, who does that?!”

“Hey! It’s cool! Let’s chill. Let’s just chill all day tomorrow. It’s a Saturday.” says the dude.

“Are you sure you like men?!” asks a dead female Millennial, smirking.

“Yeah.” she says, rolling her eyes. “I’m sure.” She almost cries.

“That’s cool! We’ll have so much fun tomorrow.” says the Millennial dude.

“We’ll go shopping online!” he says. “Tonight.”

She looks around her room. Sees that she needs a new bookshelf.

“I wish IKEA still existed.” she says.

“That’s okay! We’ll find something somewhere else.” says the Millennial dude.

“Hey!” he goes into her kitchen. “You should make yourself a drink. Like the ones that they used to make on Sex and the City.“

“Like a martini!” she says. “Oh my gosh! That sounds like so much fun!”

Three hours after ordering a huge bookcase online, she falls asleep happier than she’s ever felt. “That was so irresponsible she says.”

“Mm. God said it was okay to order one bookcase. It’s going to be used. I know you’ll use it!” the dude says. “You asked Him in prayer.”

“Hmm. But it’s so…creepy. Right? Like…I’m…trying to live in 2015. But I would have loved to live in 2015.” she says.

“That’s okay! It was fun! Let’s just go to bed!” he says.

“Yeah.” she thinks. “Whatever!”

She brushes her teeth.

“Hey! It’s been really nice spending time with you. You’re…so cool.” the dude says.

“I’m cool!?” she says. She looks around her house. Smiles.

She wears Baccarat Rouge to bed. A trail of it wafts around the entire second floor.

A dead Gen Xer cries. Just thinking about the nature of time in a fallen world.

“Goodnight world!” she says smiling a huge smile. Her teeth are perfectly straight and white. She has glass skin. Iron-straight hair.

Dude knows that the goodnight was intended for him. Secretly. God let’s him see into her heart for a moment. He grins. He can’t help himself.

And as he falls asleep in her guest-room he realizes she’s…everything. He prays for her.

Neither have been happier.

Will he let her get married? Yeah…probably. But…it’s going to be tough. And if she doesn’t get married he’s going to make sure she’s happy. Either way, “I’m the one!” he says.

Right? Or no? Will the Earth cease to exist by then?

God knows.