A Family Discussion

Part IV of IV

Once it was said, Dale couldn’t take it back but at the same time… he ran into his bedroom after Sandra anyway. Leaning on the door frame he said, “I didn’t mean any of that.”

“Oh yes. Yes you did, you shit.” Sandra was smoking, calling Rick and chewing gum at the same time. Rick picked up the phone on the other end. Dale sunk down to the floor and buried his head in his hands.

“Hey, Babe.” Sandra grinned.

Cool as a cucumber she proceeded to tell him that she needed to meet him at their usual spot. It was an emergency and she needed to see him as soon as possible.

She prepared herself and took her black Chanel bag, flung it over the shoulder of her black leather jacket and then threw her gum in the trash underneath the vanity in the bedroom. Dale watched.

“I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time Dale.” She stopped and took a long deep breath. “Thank you, I love you, I hate you but most of all: Fuck you! Fuck you and your coldness. Fuck you and your pretentiousness. Fuck you and your books and your blessed fucking brilliance. Fuck. You.” Then before Dale could figure out what to say she grinned gleefully and dashed out of the house.

He was numb. All this madness that had seemed to come at him made him feel incredibly numb. But not numb in the usual way. It made him feel weak… But still, hadn’t she been waiting to say that? Hadn’t she often looked sad when he kissed her forehead as they parted? She always looked sad, come to think of it.

Was he sad too? The thought made him laugh uncontrollably. It went so far beyond that… Why even bother trying to think tiny, silly little thoughts about it right now.

Sunlight poured in through the windows in the family room. Bold, warm sunlight threw a spotlight on the dancing of dust. The sofa was soft. The walls were a clean, lovely beige. It broke him.

Because everything was just as it should be. Even the sunlight was as it should be.

But… where was he? Was he here in this room? Here in this body he looked down at? Why, just earlier today he’d mused about his aging skin and his weight. In that moment he felt present but right now… where was he? Where was he most of the time? Huh.

Sarah’s day had started out fantastically. It was pure genius.

They held hands. Patrick gave her winks every time she turned around in math class. And when some guy started teasing him about it he threatened him and the guy actually backed-off. And then, as if to spite it all, he drew two big hearts after class with their initials in them on the chalkboard. She was in awe of him. What a wonderful start…

And back in the jungle of the seventh grade Scott was also happy… enough. Having followed his sister’s advice he shunned any social points he could have gained by telling his would-be buddies what was actually the truth. Instead he told them he didn’t want to talk about it. They looked confused and accused him of being a chicken but then when he didn’t flinch they went quiet. Then one of them suggested that he must have actually gotten really drunk and in a lot of trouble. But still, he refused to comment. And oddly, in his cold indifference, they felt almost… snubbed. It was then that Scott, with his great intuition, realized how deeply insecure these guys were. And, he nearly resented them.

Sandra’s hair flew about her pretty face as she drove up to the train depot with her window down. She beamed at Rick. And there he stood, all of him, right there in front of the parking spot by the entrance to the depot. Hands in his pockets he looked both excited and dead-set. Their eyes met magically and as Sandra gracefully exited the car she looked like a mysterious ancient and beautiful creature finding her true mate.

Their words were sparse but they didn’t need many words. He did however ask her, “What made you finally change your mind?”

“I had a talk with Dale this morning and I realized how useless it is to figure certain things out. It’s never been my style anyway… I know I love you too and being with you is the only real fun I’ve had in a long time. I was waiting because I just wanted to be sure… But I’m done waiting to be sure. I’m done waiting to try to… ‘do things the right way.’ She grinned. “I just want to be fucking happy for once in my fucking life.” Her smile grew enormous.

“Well, whatever brought you to your senses is good enough for me.” Rick caressed her softly but certainly and then they got in his Jeep.

After sitting and staring at the door frame for about a half an hour Dale finally rose from his seat on the floor and decided to make a cup of coffee. Finally sipping his coffee he stood in silence and then thought how perfect it would be to read the newspaper? Except it wouldn’t.

Dale sunk slowly, feet slippery on the kitchen tile, to the kitchen floor. He stayed there for an hour…

After that Dale picked up a novel he had been intending to read and brought it to the sofa. But, instead of reading it he just sat and… stared. And stared. And stared

Then the phone rang. It rang in the kitchen. It rang in the bedroom. It rang in a bathroom near the stairs to the basement.

Dale rose from his seat and walked to the phone in the kitchen. It was a green plastic phone and it lit up when it rang.

“Hello.” Dale quietly spoke.

It was a call from the hospital. A woman who they had determined to be his wife was losing her life. She had been in a car accident with a man who appeared to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash. He had died at the scene and she was just barely clinging to life. He needed to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

I wish I could say that all was well. But it wasn’t. When are things ever really… truly well? Maybe not often this side of heaven.

Still, Sarah’s new boyfriend was proving to be a God-send and helping her grieve the death of her mother…  Her father had finally decided to go into counseling and start taking anti-depressants. And Scott… Well Scott was also in counseling.

What Scott said he regretted most was never really liking his mother. She was just so… cool and distant? They were just so different. So very different…

One Saturday, several months later, in a counseling session, Scott wrote his mother a letter.  In the letter he apologized for not liking her enough.  He felt guilty.  He apologized for not being a better son.  He expressed anger that she was so indifferent to him all his childhood.  He said, “goodbye.”  And then, as his counselor recommended, he placed the letter on her grave.

But Sarah was the most devastated.  She was the most distraught.

Patrick could sense her growing despair. He could sense that the fervent and blooming spring in her heart was threatening a revolt.

And one lazy late July day when Sarah refused to answer the phone he decided to go check on her. When he got to her house she had, “gone for a walk” her father told him. So, Patrick tried to track her down.

He figured out that she had probably made her way to the river. It was near the spot where her mother had been found and Sarah was the sort of confrontational soul who needed to stare death in the eyes and ask questions.

It took about an hour before he found her standing, peering down into the river right at the edge. He could sense her deathly trance and grief-stricken state. Patrick rushed to her side.

“Sarah! What are you doing?!” He yelled at her.

She turned around and face broken by many previous tears she calmly explained: “I decided to find my mother.” He knew exactly what she meant.

“What about me though, Sarah? You can’t just leave me here.”

A look of horror crossed her face. Then she looked down at the river by her feet. She noticed the flow and where the water went, and how it danced, taking itself far, far away from her.

His desolate, pleading face genuinely shocked her when she returned to it.

“I’ve just been thinking. I feel like I’m slightly at fault in some weird, roundabout way for my mother’s death.” She pauses. “And I never got a chance to say goodbye.” She starts to cry.

Patrick knows to not touch her just yet…

“I don’t want to leave you. But at the same time I’m such a depressing person to be around.” She smiles and shrugs. “We could easily break-up someday anyway and why waste your time with my nonsense?”

“But don’t you see how selfish and… arrogant that is? It’s my choice whether or not I want to be with you. And I want to be with you.” She shudders suddenly and he continues.

“Playing with the forces of life is futile. God can’t be toyed with.”

She looks down the river again. “My mother is gone. So far away. And what if I never see her again? Or, what if it takes … nearly forever? Even if we meet in Heaven then what? I live out the next seventy years waiting to see her? The next eighty?”

“What choice do you have but to wait? She’s gone, Sarah. Don’t try to follow her.”

He picks up two leaves and throws them in the river. They separate and flow together down the same path but apart from each other. She watches.

Patrick grabs her hand, then tugs her away from the stream. “Besides, I believe in God and if you’re supposed to meet again you will.”

They head back toward the parking lot through the woods and for a moment she feels extremely sad but at peace. Then the sound of footsteps is clearly heard right behind them – breaking twigs feet away.

The laughter of a woman and man cracks the air around them. They both hear it and then turn around to look. There’s nobody there, of course.

As they keep walking onward they hear it again. This time when they turn around Sarah walks backward to investigate. She looks around and sees a wet leaf in the middle of the path. “Hello?!” She screams out into the woods. “Hello?!” But nobody answers. She walks back to her boyfriend and says, “You heard it too right?”

He nods then says without flinching. “I heard it. It was probably your mother.” He makes a wild but sweet expression. “…But… I still wouldn’t chase after her, Sarah. She is dead.”

Sarah is surprised at his words but smiles sincerely. “It’s a little bit of everything isn’t it? Life…”. But then Sarah turns around just quickly enough to utter, “Good bye then, Mom. For now, at least.”

“Just keep saying all of that until you know what you really mean.” Patrick offers.

She nods.

For Her L’Absolu

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L’ Absolu ( Narcisco Rodriguez 2015) opens with a sharp tuberose and jasmine.  They are assertive and elegant.  Then a sassy musk colors all the notes with a sort of 80’s retro, chic opulence.

L’ Absolu is slightly sweet and into the drydown the amber is warm, luxurious and very bold in a refined, and quiet way.   Yet, all the while, the musk lingers, turning the entire scent into a saucy come hither stare.

Top notes: tuberose and jasmine.  Middle note: musk.  Base notes: amber, sandalwood and patchouli. 

Nose: Aurelien Guichard


The Demise of Mr. Wilson : Part I of IV

*There will be a slight time delay on this first installment.  It will appear later.  My apologies.

 

 

 

Signature

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Tender peach, uplifting aldehydes, an engaging dash of nutmeg and a hint of fresh tangerine enshrine tulip in the opening of signature (S. T. Dupont 2000).  Into the dry down fluid floral beauties are buoyed by sturdy, warm base notes.  And a perfect rosewood is accentuated by musk.

Top notes: aldehydes, tulip, nutmeg, violet, peach, bergamot and tangerine.  Middle notes: magnolia, iris, orchid, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and rose. Base notes: sandalwood, amber, musk, vanilla, vetiver, cedar and brazilian rosewood.

Nose: Bertrand Duchaufour

Raindrops On My Window: Part III of IV

The morning after my first lovely night with Tom I woke up feeling both totally smitten and very anxious.  Something about the perfection…  Was that it?  I don’t know, but it felt too good – too wonderful really.  Yet, the more anxious I felt and the more scared I was by the beauty of it all, the more I craved him.  And when I was around him, only in moments of total quiet when the shadows crept too close for comfort did I ever feel almost anything but happiness.

The evening of the party at his mother’s cottage on the sea was a moonlit one.  And I was very anxious to make a good impression.  Before the night began I spent hours on my dress and overall appearance.  When I arrived, nervous and happy I immediately felt drawn into the crowd before me when he took my hand.  He held my hand for an hour and never let it go.

“Sarah plays the violin.” his mother modestly mentioned as we all sat around the table after dinner, sipping coffee and wine.

“Oh, how wonderful.”  I smiled as Sarah bashfully looked askew, and I felt myself falling in love not only with the man sitting next to me but his entire family.

“Mother is an accomplished singer.”  Tom said this as if he was trying to pull flattering facts about his mother out of hidden places she convened them to so as to keep an even keel and never seem to be anything but the reserved, gentle soul she presented.

“Oh stop lying.” she laughed.  “I was nothing of the sort.  I only sang occasionally.”  She grinned the same toothy smile Tom possessed and manifested at will brilliantly, and with both of them flashing their grins the entire courtyard was filled with an ephemeral sort of lightness.

I sat in bliss just watching what surrounded me.

A dark, languid young man tapped Sarah on her shoulder and then escorted her onto the portion of the courtyard used for dancing.  There they smoothed into a tender embrace before being moved to the sound the melody coming from the guitar and violin.

Tom’s mother pulled out a cigarette and took a puff, resting her elbows on the table before her.  She suddenly looked distant and almost ready to break into tears, but instead she just kept smoking…

Tom asked, “Would you like to dance, Patricia?”  His eyes were smiling and we rose and began dancing upon his request.

I can’t remember much from that moment on, but I do remember feeling shock because nothing up until that hour in time had ever gone so well, so splendidly, in my life.  And just as soon as I was about to dismiss it all as some sort of dream, or a moment that was about to come shattering down and self-destruct I felt the heaviness of life.  I felt the humid, late Summer air and I felt his soul and I knew it was all very real.  He touched the back of my waist and brushed his cheek against mine.

Tom grasped my hand, and I wasn’t sure that I wasn’t drunk, but I hadn’t had one sip the entire time I was there.   Then he tugged at me and we seemed to float away towards some place that only he could be leading to – that only he knew of.  He seemed to possess the admiration of the sun, moon and stars combined and he wanted me, but that wasn’t what thrilled me most.  It was his touch.  His smell.  It was him.

We walked down a very narrow dirt path, under an elm tree, and then landed next to a lilac bush near an old, vine covered red brick wall.  “On the other side of this wall is a garden filled with roses.  It belongs to our next door neighbors but my mother is good friends with the wife and she wouldn’t mind anyway…  I don’t think.”  He chuckled at the last phrase with giddiness, and seemed to regard everything in this moment as though he was embarking on something all together too grand and too magnificent to be true.  Then, half silly, he said, “Let’s go over!”   Vitality lifted his limbs up and onto the top of the wall and upon reaching the summit he stood and examined it all, even gazing into the distance.  He giggled and his eyes were wide open and shining.  Then, he reached down and extended his hand.  “Here!”

I grabbed his hand and he brought me upwards to meet him.  Our limbs joined and he said sweetly, gently, “Now, I’ll jump down on the other side and when I get there I’ll wait, then you jump and I’ll catch you.”

He hopped off, landed perfectly and then reached his arms outward.  I dropped my legs down first and then thew myself towards him entirely.  I fell into him and he did, in fact, catch me, although we had to steady ourselves backward momentarily, but that was only lovely.  And sure enough, there were roses everywhere.  Dozens of roses…

I looked around and beheld the splendor.  “They aren’t half as pretty as you-”  His voice broke and in that moment of self-acknowledged, awkward, trite poetry he seemed to be expressing more sincere emotion than the most original and talented writers could in a thousand years.

We laid among those late July rose beds on Bushnell Lane…

An hour later, wiping the dirt from the back of my dress in the misty moonlight, and smoothing out his gray tie he told me, “I love you.”

And I said, “I love you.”

And we did

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amber Saffron

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Utterly crisp citrus (mandarin and bergamot) bursts into existence with a subtle artemisia and an extremely pretty saffron in the waiting in Amber Saffron (Clean Reserve 2016).  Woody, light and beautifully floral saffron laces amber and a quiet musk into the drydown.  And although this fragrance is fairly unisex it is definitely not a one size fits all…  I highly suspect that the notes mold themselves with particular aplomb based on the wearer…
Top notes: bergamot, artemisia and mandarin orange.  Middle notes: rose, lily and raspberry.  Base notes: musk, saffron and amber.


Raindrops On My Window:  Part II of IV

I couldn’t help but be excited by the thought of this mystery man driving me home.  He was so handsome and he smelled of leather and incense.  Walking down the marble floored, dark hallway to the main door by the stairwell I watched him from behind, looking up at his dark blond locks and broad shoulders that towered above Diana’s and mine.  Although, glancing over at Diana, I now realized how much of quandary I was in.  It certainly seemed as though they had some sort of shared romantic history and I didn’t want to interfere.

“Well, chum, this is where we part ways.” said Diana Grable in a low, suggestive tone. Diana’s chiseled face set a striking background for her show-stopping, vivid blue eyes. They sparkled and caught the gentleman’s own blue gems.   He paused and their figures faced each other under the imposing entryway’s wooden frame.  I stood silent as a mouse in the shadows watching until he turned his face to me with a half smile; the sort that men make when they mean to suggest something they wouldn’t dare even whisper at such a moment.

He and I walked together out the door, after we all said our goodbyes and the damp calm of the evening felt soft and pleasing.  I could smell the dahlias and wet grass mixed with rain. The crickets sounded quieter on this side of the house and there were no stars or moon.   It was pitch black except for the porch lights.

“I don’t think I ever heard your name.”  I tried to make polite conversation.

“Oh, yes, sorry.”  he responded, putting his hands in his pockets.  “My name is Tom.  My full name is Thomas Lawrence Walsh Jr..”

“Is Esme Walsh your sister?”

“Yes.  She’s younger than I am by two years.”

“I think I went to school with your sister.”

“In Boston?”

“Yes.  And one Summer I visited your house in Connecticut.”

He paused and looked quite sullen for a moment as he shuffled his feet in the grass.  Then he glanced up at the cloudy night sky.

“We sold our house in Connecticut last Winter after my father passed away.”

“Oh.  I’m sorry!”

He squinted at nothing in particular and then caught my eyes with his.  “Well, dad died of a heart attack in his sleep.  He didn’t feel a thing thankfully.”  Then, he moved forward after dropping his last word and together we silently approached his shiny black cabriolet, laced with drops of rain.

He opened my door in silence and I quietly slid into my seat.  Then he found his way to the driver’s seat, turned the car on and the lights gleamed into the darkness ahead.

We rode in silence for three blocks.  Three long blocks.

“It’s been so hot lately.  This air feels so nice and cool on my face.”

“Yes…”  His voice was polite but I could tell he wasn’t particularly interested.  “How long have you known Diana?”  He sounded very intrigued with the answer to this question.

“Oh, about two or three years I suppose. Why do you ask?”

“Diana is funny sort of girl isn’t she.”  he sounded exasperated, mirthful and then rested his head on his hand.  “I thought we were going to the movies tonight but she phoned me and canceled.”

“Diana is a very popular girl.  I’m sure she didn’t mean any harm.” I felt a bit disappointed, but not surprised.

“Oh she is.  Yes.  But a fellow starts to think he just shouldn’t bother asking after a while.”

“I suppose that’s true.”

“Do you ever wonder?  Do you ever wonder why life is so funny?  For example,”  he pauses and glances at me for a moment before proceeding, “I wanted to introduce myself to you at that party last year but I felt too nervous.  I went home early to study for an exam I had the next day and then three weeks later I met Diana at a dinner with my parents.  If I hadn’t been a coward,  and just walked up to you and said hello that night at the Kitson’s I wouldn’t ever have thought twice about Diana.  I know I wouldn’t have.”  He looked at me and absentmindedly licked his lips.

“Life is funny.  I agree.”

Then there was complete quiet between us except for the sound of the gravel hitting the car and the wind.  We reached an open field, and in the distance the lake could be seen through the dark tree limbs; big, cool, and foreboding.

“I’m sorry.  I’m boring you.”  He sounded genuinely sorry.

“No, you’re not boring me.”

“Well, I’m not exactly being charming company am I?”

“I think you’re very charming.”  I paused.  “Too bad there isn’t a moon out tonight.  This field is so pretty in the moonlight.”

He then looked at me quite seriously, analyzing me intently until he turned his face, earnestly stared ahead at the road, and straightened himself in his seat.  The car sped up considerably and we drove on for about a mile before we reached the bridge over by the bay.  With a sharp turn of the wheel we drove off the road into the tall grass.  He stopped, turned on the radio, and our eyes met for a second before he leaned over and kissed my face, finally reaching my mouth.  Then he stopped, moved back into his seat and smiled broadly.

“Gosh, that was wonderful!  You’re a beautiful girl.  You should never have to play second to anyone.  Not Diana or anyone.  I’m sorry I didn’t walk up to you that night and say, ‘Hello.  My name is Tom.’  I would have had the entire Spring and Summer with you if you’d have allowed it.”

“I can’t believe this is happening.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just… everything.” I was pleasantly overwhelmed.

“I can.  And how.”  Then he leaned over again and kissed me passionately.  I touched his arm, he moved me closer to him, and we kissed until I looked away.  He took my hands in his and we sat and just looked at each other for a few moments…

“What’s really funny is that you were at Diana’s house tonight, of all nights.  I had decided that if I didn’t find any reason to stay near home this Summer I would join the Navy.  This evening was my last attempt I had decided.  And then there you were sitting there with your sexy mouth, and those lovely, cavernous eyes.”  He grinned.

I demurred slightly and yet didn’t want to dissuade him entirely.   I played with the radio.

“I’ll bring you home now, if you like, but I’d like to see you again soon.”  He turned the car on and started to drive forward slowly.  “Would you like to see Esme again?  She’ll be in town this weekend and my mother is throwing a little party.  Just a few friends.  They’ll be a band but nothing big.”

“I’d like that a lot.”

“Fine.”  His face lightened and his freckles nearly glittered as a certain Celtic redness seemed to suddenly make his face almost glow.  It was then that I realized the depth and solemnity of his blossoming intentions.

“You’re very sure of yourself aren’t you?” I was in awe.

“Yes.   Or, so I’ve been told.”  He started the car and then met my hesitation with a wide, toothy expression.  “It often seems that even when I lose, I win anyway.” He winked and the car dashed forward and in a second we were on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eau De Murano

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Eau De Murano (Murano 1994) is ripe, plump and robust florals with a particularly tender and sexy, almost spicy and salty rose.  This is a fragrance well suited for warm weather, but with cool breezes lifting spirits and inspiring a wistful, lingering sort of beauty.  It’s a very 90’s scent in the best, most elegant sense.  Eau De Murano is reminiscent of Amarige in its sincere, feminine but structured allure.  And although it may not be well known, it is certainly not a scent to be forgotten.

I quite fancy it…

(nose and notes are unknown)

Raindrops On My Window Part I of IV

My silk dress was damp at the armpits.  My skin felt itchy.  I was really itchy.  It was a hot night in July.

Condensation from my glass of sherry dripped onto the lovely mahogany table to my right. I was useless too.  Totally useless.

“Patricia!  Darling, do come here.”

“I can’t.  If I stand up you’ll be able to see the stains on this dress.”

“Oh, silly girl.  I have a huge mustard stain on my lap from dinner.”

“You have a tiny speck.  Under a microscope the size of Manhattan, that is.  Shut yer yap, Diana.”

“Well, you’ll have to make yourself presentable anyway in a minute.”  Diana’s voice trailed off.

“Why?”  It seemed like something terrible was about to happen.   The warmth of the lamps in the drawing room next to the garden door would have been cozy if it wasn’t so very, too very, hot.  And I could hear the sound of the bubbling fountains in the garden even though the crickets were loud.

“Hello.”  And there he stood.  Tall.  Deep, sensual voice.  Cool blue eyes…  And he looked sweaty.  He wiped his forehead with a handkerchief.

“Oh, poor baby.” Diana cooed.

With her soft, billowing satin she shimmied over toward him with a tray of ice as he stood in the doorway.  Mrs. Aldridge, the maid, who stood in the doorway as well, now retired presumably to go to bed.  It was actually quite late – ten at night.  I bit my lip and then sat down again in the same spot on the leather sofa.

“I was planning on just going home, but I had a ghastly night and I told myself, ‘Hey idiot. Don’t waste a perfectly horrible Summer night.  Find someone to share your misery.'” This strange, handsome man I didn’t know now looked at Diana and sent her a huge, toothy grin.  She giggled dryly.

“Well, we’ve been just sitting here the whole night I’m afraid.  It’s much too hot for almost anything else.”

Diana draped herself majestically over the chaise in the dimmest corner of the darkly lit, smoky drawing room at Cherry Hill on Crescent Street, near the old museum in the north part of town.  She looked longingly, pursing her red lips and furrowing her carefully arched brows at the gentleman now sitting on the floor near the fireplace.  Yet, her spectacle wasn’t meant to cause any action.  It was all in jest and he knew it.

He smiled wryly and laughed but in a sort of genuine, sweet innocence as he unbuttoned his shirt a few buttons. Then he rolled up his sleeves and took off his shoes.  For a second he and Diana seemed to be in a world unto themselves watching each other.  I sat in silence.

“So who is this young maiden?”  He looked at me suddenly, breaking the mood with a somewhat silly but friendly look my way and I felt very on display.  I’m sure I showed it too.

“This, my friend, is the late Patricia Jane Fulton.  Tonight she will die in your arms from the shock of your electrifying kiss.” Diana threw herself backward demonstratively, almost falling off the chaise. “Oh sweet Jupiter and galloping Hades, I’m drunk.”

“Yes.  Yes, I think so.” said the mystery man in response.

“I want walnuts.” Diana rose now  with a bounce and waltzed to the door, but she bumped into the edge of the marble fireplace with her shoulder and fell slightly to the left before finally reaching the doorway.  “Ahh nuts!” she exclaimed at the injury.  She tossed her thick, beautiful blond waves back, displaying a sharp but pretty visage, and then lifted her locks off her serene, splendid neck with her dainty pale hand.  “And speaking of nuts.” She exited the room with a skip and click of her cunning heels.

“Hi there.”  The mystery man rose and lifted himself onto the sofa next to where I sat tensely but without much emotion on display, as always.

“Hi.” I responded, as I heard the sound of Duke Ellington playing Mood Indigo on the phonograph in the background and felt much too much.

“So you’re Patricia.  I’ve heard about you.”

“You have?!” I was quite confused.

“Oh of course.” He smiled and nodded.

“How could that be?”

“I’ve seen you at parties.”

“No you haven’t.  I’m quiet and I rarely go to parties.”

“Well, that may be, but I did see you at the Kitson’s Winter party last year.”

I paused and tried to recall that event.  It was in February around the time of Mrs. Kitson’s 40th birthday.

“Oh yes.  I was there.”

“Yes.  And you were dancing with a fellow name George Lax.  I knew George from my days at Exeter.”

“Right.  George and I used to play together as children.  He’s a very good friend of mine.  Matter of fact we’re related.  He’s my second cousin on my mother’s side.”

“Yes.  I know.  George told me a lot about you that night when I asked who you were.”

“Oh, I see.”

“You danced well.”

“I’m not a good dancer.”

I thought you were.”

“I was making it all up.”

“But it was good.”

Diana returned and announced her arrival by throwing walnut shells at our heads.  I felt one hit my cheek, looked to my left and saw her approaching.

“I should go home.” I announced awkwardly.

“Ok kiddo.  I’ll call for a taxi, unless you want to walk.” Diana sounded blunt, sugary and quite inebriated.

“No, I’ll drive her home.” The mystery man rose at this phrase and looked seriously at me.  While I was advised once by my nanny not to accept automobile rides from boys I’d never met, I felt at ease.

“Ok.  Sure.  Why not?  Suits me.” Diana said gingerly.

“Fine.” he managed, as his face lit up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decadence

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At first Decadence (Marc Jacobs 2015) is an aquatic, warm and lovely plum, saffron and iris.  Then it softly elaborates on a theme into rose, a fruity jasmine and soft orris root.  And, all while a modern base casts a gentle hue, creating a very sweet, sensual and yet upbeat drydown.

And on a related note this fragrance pairs marvelously with Jicky edt…
Top notes: Italian plum, saffron and iris.  Middle notes: Bulgarian rose, sambac jasmine and orris root.  Base notes: amber, vetiver and papyrus wood.

 

 

Up in Smoke:  Part III of III

In the background the music had stopped playing.

“I suppose we could go change the record.” he quietly suggests, trying to gain his composure.

“Yes.”

He rises, in almost a stupor, and walks towards the hallway leading to the stairs.  Everything is quiet for a moment.

Eliza moves off the sofa and upon reaching the bottom stair step she hears the sounds of Ravel’s Bolero.

“I’m afraid I don’t like Joni Mitchell much.  Do you?”  Pat calls to her, posing the question with a hazy tranquility as he stands by the record player.

“No.  I don’t like her music at all really…  I’m afraid.”

He looks at Eliza when she reaches him and inspects her for a moment before saying, “Your glass is almost empty.  Would you like another pour?  I think I would like some myself…”

The two move through the swinging, white painted, wooden door to the kitchen.  Eliza bites her lip and then walks over to him, facing him directly as if to explain herself or lighten the mood.  But, she senses a hush between them and they both refrain from speech entirely.  He drinks his entire glass and then watches her as she finishes.

“I want to kiss you again…  I’m sorry…  I suspect it’s chronic.”  He looks down at her face with restraint and pleads with fervency.

All Eliza can do is smile bashfully.

The two pairs of lips meet and exchange a lingering, interloping sweetness.  And, as the song works into a fevered pulse, their restrained but certain passions bring them very deep indeed.

Pat takes her hand, opens the kitchen door and says, “You said you wanted to take a walk by the lake.  It stopped raining…   And, so do I…  Let’s go.”

Running together in the muddy darkness, they slide messy, to a moonlit pool of black.

Scandal

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If Scandal (Roja Dove 2007) is indeed a scandal, then it’s a rather lighthearted one I think…   One with lots of juicy chatter (as indicated by a flurry of vivid and vocal notes mid drydown) but very little pain.

Scandal is a predominantly  tuberose fragrance.  Very, very tuberose (with other noticeable, pretty but less assertive florals)…  And despite its suggestive title, I can’t say it’s particularly sexy in my estimation.  Rather, scandal is a lush, blossoming, lovely scent with a very flamboyant, sweet cheerfulness.

Top notes: bergamot and lavender.  Middle notes: tuberose, jasmine, freesia, rose, gardenia, lily-of-the-valley and orange blossom. Base notes: sandalwood, musk and orris root.

Up in Smoke: Part II of III

At eight-thirty Luke decided to go downstairs and see what everyone else was doing. Elizabeth needed to put on a different outfit so she lingered in their room for a moment or two longer.

From the stairs when she descended, Eliza could hear the sound of Joni Mitchell playing on Rich’s vintage record player.

“Is that Joni Mitchell you picked?” Sarah asks.

“Yeah.”  Luke can be heard responding.

“Oh my god!” Stacy shrieks loudly. “I love her too!”

“So do I.”  says Sarah more calmly.  “This record was an anniversary gift to me from Rich…”

“That’s right.  Oh my god!  Yeah.  You guys played this album at your wedding dance didn’t you?”

“Yeah.”  Sarah sounds nostalgic.

Then the sound of feet and then the absence of human sound.

Eliza enters the dining room only to find that nobody is there.  It’s just her and Joni Mitchell’s voice coming from the rich, crackling depths of the recording.  She hears the sound of people in the distance toward the back of the house and follows them.

..I’ve looked at clouds that way, but now they only block the sun...”

In the living room down the hall Eliza finds that the wooden framed windows have all been shoved wide open.  A chilled stream of air is misting through the windows, wafting from among the lilacs.  And on the other side rain is pouring on everything and everyone as Joni floats outdoors.

Off to the left, under the flimsy shelter of a tall Cottonwood tree, Pat rests gloomily in an old metal folding chair and it is not entirely clear if he is napping or watching.  His arms are thrown off to the sides as he sits in a reclining position.  His well tailored shirt rumpled from the rain, he looks resolute and manly but not particularly pleased.

Sarah and Rich gaze at each other and then begin dancing as their eyes meet and twirl.  Then Rich pulls her close and they are locked together.  Behind them Luke and Stacy awkwardly observe.

“I wanna dance to Joni too!”  Stacy glances at Luke, grabs him and swings him around.  The two start making up silly dance moves and teasing each other.

In the doorway Eliza finds herself wanting to fight it, but it’s unclear how to go about doing so.  Really, there was nothing to do but watch, so she just stood there feeling stupid.  She watched as Stacy and Sarah smiled.

But Eliza had not gone unnoticed.  Stacy, half seeing her out of the corner of her eye, secretly delighted in the misery she was inflicting on the young woman several years her junior.  And, she also realized how much of a risk she was currently taking with her own heart…  But, it had “just happened” or at least that’s what she had decided she would tell people.  Luke looked so lost, sad and uncomfortable just sitting there as Sarah and Rich fought in the truck so they started talking.  She felt lucky she had found them on the road back to the lake house from town.

Walking outside in the rain the drenched green grass felt mushy under Eliza’s bare feet, as if any second she would slide into it and completely humiliate herself.  And really, she couldn’t stand it.  Her mascara was running, her dress was now soaked and her husband was waltzing in the rain with another woman right in front of her.  And her feet were freezing.  She stopped and shivered.

Eliza was, in fact, totally finished with this scene.  Aside from some sort of vague, self pitying masochism if she stayed any longer, it was time to go.  So she left.  She walked back slowly, thought about saying goodbye to someone, like Luke, but the moment she opened her mouth she realized how pointless it was.

And, in fact, despite its inherent clumsiness she walked backwards almost the entire way to the house.   When she felt the handle of the door in her hands, wet and cold, she realized that this was it.  She was leaving after losing hope.  Loneliness was waiting.  Yet, upon entering inside, the warmth of the cozy house welcomed her.   At least she wasn’t cold anymore.

Finally, after making her way to the kitchen, with the white cupboards and black and white checkered floor, she felt a bit of peace.  This place felt ancient even though it wasn’t.  It felt safe.

And then there was the wine.  She grabbed it by the throat and poured herself a glass of red – a sweet Spanish wine.  It was a Crianza and it was delectable.

Leaning back on the counter tops she took a deep breath and looked around.  It suddenly occured to her that she wanted desperately to explore this rather grand old house.  Alone.  So, Eliza walked down the dim hallway toward the stairs and then up to the library.

It was an almost unseemly place.  It could be very eerie, especially at night, and it always smelled strongly of pipe tobacco.  But, it was charming…

Eliza noticed a set of old books about eagles near the fireplace.  The set was in near mint condition with a dark brown jacket.

She brushes them off lightly, noticing the smell of musty old book pages and dust.  Glass of wine still in hand she takes a sip, savors the cherry and plum and then sits it down adroitly to her right on the marble mantle.

Eliza hears a faint rustling in the background and she has the sense that there is someone behind her.  She half expects it to be Luke…

Perhaps he has come to apologize. And, what a feat that would be!  He might actually love her and have noticed when she went inside.  At this thought she imagines a scene of him telling Stacy or Sarah that he really loves Eliza and has to leave to check on her.  Her heart forms a small smile and takes a tiny leap at the thought of this very pleasant idea.

She turns around carefully, to give herself time to mentally prepare to see Luke and accept whatever he offers her.  But instead, she sees Pat.

He was rather remarkable actually…  While she had certainly noticed his masculine but gentle charm before, at this moment, his eyes looked so very blue and filled with light.  It was as if he had taken himself off the shelf and uncovered something rather rare and divine.

He dipped his frame into the room, showing a head of thick blond hair.  Then he turned around to the door, shut it quietly and walked over to the back of the sofa.  He leaned forward, resting his hands on the back of the dark green velvet and placed his weight there.  Then in the peaceful darkness of the library their eyes met firmly.

His face became electrified with an all consuming thought that set him a flight.  Luminous, staring with a belief of profound intention, he steadied himself toward her, finally reaching her, then enclosing her; moving together as two to become one until they reached the far wall by the window.

Eliza felt the coolness of the wall against her back as he finally kissed her lips with soft, beautifully desperate intensity.  Then he stopped and backed away and looked at her for a second. He was breathless.

“This isn’t alright is it?”

She shook her head back and forth in response before saying, “And I can’t get hurt again right now.”

“Of course not.  Neither can I.”

He grabbed her hand and pressed her against the wall, but then paused again and instead brought her to the sofa.  There they sat, staring at each other, neither of them sure what to do or say next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1876 Mata Hari

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Mata Hari (Histoires de Parfums 2001) begins with an herbal, sultry fizziness…  It’s soft, seductive, powdery and very sensual.  This is the sort of scent meant to be worn by a vixen. It’s perfectly befitting of its inspiration…

Spicy.  Sweet…  Musk, sandalwood, rose and violet.  This is a true beauty that is far from ordinary.

Top notes: bergamot, orange and litchi.  Middle notes: rose, iris, violet, caraway, cinnamon and carnation.  Base notes: vetiver, guaiac wood, sandalwood, musk and vanilla.

Up in SmokePart I of III*

It was a dreary day in March.  Elizabeth Matthews sat in the front passenger seat of her car driving with her husband Luke on their way to Mount Herman, an idyllic town a few miles off the main interstate by Lake Wannemigoshi. The quiet of the road and the silence between her and her husband was dulling.  Elizabeth turned on the radio and found a station to her liking before trying to start conversation.

“How are you today, really?”

“Umm.  What do you mean?”

“Just…  How are you?”

“I’m tired.”

“I’m sorry sweetie.”

“Ehh.”

Silence.

There was always silence in moments like this.  They had very little to discuss these days, or maybe it was actually too much…  Either way, only a certain depth could be reached before it all would collapse.

He would say something very hurtful. She would try to ask why and he would deny it was intentional but apologize anyway.  Then more probing would lead to him saying something even more hurtful.

“I hope we can get to the Williams’ house before it gets dark.  I was hoping Sarah and I could take a walk.”  Elizabeth tries for some approximation of closeness through conversation none-the-less.

Silence.

“What do you think about that?”

“I’m sorry.  What?”

“Do you think we’ll reach the Williams’ before it’s dark?”

“Well.”   He shifted in his seat with sudden interest and did quick calculations. “We should arrive in a half an hour.”

“Ok.  Great.”

“I mean…”  Luke then trailed off into a rather long explanation about why they would arrive in half an hour and how this time was different than the last three times they took the same journey.  Then at the end of his explanation Elizabeth suddenly realized that she hadn’t been listening.

“Ohh.  Ok. That makes sense!”  She covered.  He didn’t question her lie, but she felt guilty anyway. “Thank you for driving today honey,” she said extra sweetly.

He shrugged.

A half an hour later they arrived.  Sarah half ran half leaped down the gravel driveway to meet their car.  She grinned and looked breathless, but her attention was directed entirely towards Luke. She knocked on the glass of his window. He rolled it down…

“Hey!”  She said very jovially… only to Luke.

He smiled, captivated, a bit happy and a little confused.  And, the rain poured on everything.

Elizabeth sat and watched.  It had long been her suspicion that Sarah secretly had a crush on her husband.  After Luke and Sarah exchanged a few words Luke rolled up the window and turned to drive.  It seemed as if Elizabeth had ceased to exist…

“What was that all about?”

“What?”  He seems genuinely confused.

“I think she was flirting with you.”

Silence.

“Well?”

“Well what?  I’m sorry?”

“She was flirting with you.”

He shrugged.

“What do you think about that?”

“I mean, I didn’t think she was flirting.”

“Well it certainly seemed that way to me. It was odd that she was so giddy when she was talking to you and totally ignored me.  We’ve known the Williams’ for five years.”

“Hmm.  Yeah.”

Please don’t flirt back with her.”

I won’t.” He seemed sincere and Elizabeth breathed deeply in then out and sharply bit her upper lip.

After unloading their suitcases onto the wet, muddy driveway Richard Williams walked outside and gave Luke a big hug, and grabbed their luggage to haul inside.  Elizabeth, feeling anxious, decided to find Sarah. Could she be angry about something?

Sarah had moved to the doorway then and was holding open the large wooden door so Elizabeth decided to say a somewhat aggressive hello to get her attention.  Sarah reacted as if it was the oddest thing in the world for Elizabeth to do, but at the same time she seemed to understand exactly what was going on.  And, in the rich, dark subtext of that moment Elizabeth felt a gnawing sense of doom.

—•

Sarah flashes a giggle and smile, eyes wide and mooning at Elizabeth’s husband when he walks by.  He smiles back with an intimacy that gives Elizabeth a desire to flee and, at the same time, a rather silly idea of how to do so.

It occurs to Elizabeth that if she turns around and runs toward the lake that no one will stop her and if she reaches the lake she can stay there as long as she wants.  No one will stop her.   She could even camp out there for the rest of the week maybe…  It might be lonely but it will be a hell of a lot better than watching this.

And then she notices a man sitting at Sarah’s kitchen table.  He’s handsome and what she notices first are his eyes.  He’s staring boldly at her and smiling as if he knows her entire life history.  It’s almost creepy.

Elizabeth blushes and his blue eyes grin without his mouth moving a millimeter.  And then Elizabeth doesn’t want to run away anywhere.

‘He must know something I don’t about what’s going on and feel pity,’  she tells herself, feeling both embarrassment and the warmth of the supposed compassion.  But she can feel his eyes follow her every move as she and Luke ascend up the stairs to their usual room at the end of the hallway near the library.

“Who were those people at the kitchen table?”  Elizabeth asks nonchalantly once they reach their room (there was a woman with him).

“Who?”

“Never-mind. You’re having an affair with Sarah aren’t you?”  Elizabeth was never one to beat around the bush.

Luke sits down on the bed beside their luggage and looks sullen. Then he drops his face entirely.

“You are…” Elizabeth sits down next to him and there they sit in silence.

Luke throws himself on his back on the bed.

“I wanna know the truth.”

“We aren’t having an affair…  I don’t think.” His voice trails off slightly.

“But?”

“Well…  I think you’re right.  I think she’s being inappropriate and there are a few things I haven’t told you.”

“Like what?”  Elizabeth sighs.

“Well, she wants me to give her private piano lessons.”

“What?”

“Yeah.”  He lifts himself up to a sitting position and faces Elizabeth. “And, there was something a little flirtatious about the way she asked me.”

“When did this happen?”

“Last week, but I can’t remember which day of the week it was.”

“In person?!”

“In a phone call at home.”

“What did you say?”

“I told her that I’d have to think about it because we’re really busy right now.”

“We are!?”

“Well, yeah.   I’ve got an entire book I want to finish reading by the end of the month.”

“What?!  That doesn’t even make any sense…”

Silence.

“That doesn’t even make any sense.  You read The Catcher in the Rye once in three hours and your latest book is even easier to read than The Catcher in the Rye.”

“I’ve been really tired lately though.  My reading has been a lot slower.”

Elizabeth sighs.

“I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous and you know it!” Then more sweetly,  “Honey, I think you might have made that up to stall.”

“Maybe…   It was an uncomfortable conversation and she called me while I was trying to make French Toast.” He sounds truly angered by the last part in particular.

“Do you find her attractive?”

“Well…” He considers.

“Well what?”

“I mean, she’s not as attractive as you, but I’d say she was one of our more attractive female friends.”

“So you find her attractive?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You implied it.”

“The thing is, I’m not going to do anything with her, especially not without asking you.”

What?!  I’m confused.  What are you talking about?! You’re not going “to do anything” without asking me?  What?”

“Yes!  I’m not going to give her piano lessons without asking you.  I don’t see why I wouldn’t ask you…”

“Oh.  Ok?”

There’s a knock at the door.  They straighten themselves out and say, “Hey! Who’s there?”

“It’s Richard.”  Then very casually, “Hey guys, can I come in for a second?”

“Sure!” In unison.

Richard opens the door with a warm, quiet smile.  “Hey.” He shifts against the door-frame. “Yeah, so, here’s the thing.  I need to run into town to grab lighter fluid for the fire tonight and Sarah needs a few things from the grocery store.”  He begins tracing the frame with his hands, half distractedly examining the woodwork.  “She wants to come with me and I need you to come too Luke.  I might need help with picking out the right meat for the grill.”  Then he turns to Elizabeth, “If you want to come too you can, but, I’ve gotta be honest, it’d be easier if you stayed here.  I want to take the truck and there’s not a ton of room in the cab.  I’m sorry, Elizabeth.”

A slight anxiety quickened in Elizabeth as she pictured the situation in her mind.  But it seemed hopeless.

“Alright. I can just hang out here… Maybe I’ll go take a walk near the lake.”

“Sure.”  Richard didn’t seem particularly worried or interested.  He turned to Luke, “Hey, so I’m leaving in five minutes. Cool?”

“Yeah.”  Luke sounded happy and totally oblivious to anything uncomfortable.

“Cool.”  He began shutting the door, “I’ll leave you two alone.”  He snickers jokingly as if it was somehow a given that something sensual was about to transpire between man and wife.

Once the door is shut Elizabeth turns to face her husband.  “Honestly, and I’m not trying to be difficult, but honestly I’m a little concerned about what’s going on with Sarah.  I think this shopping trip could be potentially problematic.”

“Yeah.  Well, I’ll try to avoid her as much as I can.”

“You’re going to be sitting next her the whole way there and back.  How are you planning to avoid her?”

“I’ll  just ignore her and talk to Rich.”

“What if she sits in the middle?”

“Then I’ll just be quiet I guess.”

“The whole time?!”

“Yeah.  I mean it’s not like they’re bringing me along for conversation. I think Richard just needs my help at the grocery store.”

“I doubt that, I’m sorry.  But anyway, do you really even know that much about meat?”

Luke laughs.

“You think I’m meat ignorant huh?” He smiles at her.

“Well, no, not necessarily, but I didn’t think you knew that much…”

“Eh.”

“Ok…”

Silence.

Luke finishes putting on his watch, loafers, and takes a second to straighten his clothes and hair in the mirror.  Elizabeth, however, only sees him as he finishes and yet she can still sense his extra effort.

“Why are you trying to look so nice?”

“I didn’t know I was.”

“Please don’t do anything hurtful.”

“I won’t.”  He smiles brightly, walks over, gives her a kiss and then leaves.

Silence.

Elizabeth sits on the bed and listens to the sound of Luke walking down the stairs and eventually greeting their hosts.  There’s mumblings and murmurs.  Everyone sounds happy.

She lifts herself up, walks down the stairs carefully and then watches out the window as they all get inside the truck.  Sarah is giving her full attention to Luke as they approach the truck.

To his credit, Luke does seem to be at least partially ignoring Sarah’s subtle but passionate giggles and hovering glances.  But then Richard engages him and Sarah finds a way into the conversation too.  Then she sits in the middle…  As they drive off they’re all laughing.

And then they’re gone.

Elizabeth turns around to a dusty, and now sunny house. Sarah and Richard are great at keeping things neat and tidy, aside from dust… Almost nothing is askew.  Even the dining room table is kept free of any letters, books, or other things that seem to be magnetically attracted to tables in many homes…

It then it occurs to Elizabeth that there were two other people in the kitchen when they first arrived.  She wonders first why no introductions were made, and then where they are… She decides to investigate.

Elizabeth walks across the very old wooden floors that creak with each step, and smells the smell of old books on the shelves in the light filled, dust particle dancing living room. Then she decides to walk down the dim hall to the left until she reaches the back door.  And it’s here that she sees two people, a man and a woman, playing with a dog in the backyard.

In the wet, green, shiny grass she sees a golden retriever rolling, running and jumping for a ball.  A ball that’s then thrown towards the deep grass further to the left and into the direction of the sun…

Then the woman stops playing and excuses herself.  She pulls out a cigarette from her front shirt pocket, lights it and then walks off to the right.  The lady looks serious, sophisticated in her willowy gait and almost mad with the force of each step.  And then she’s gone.

Once she’s gone the man stands still and begins staring off into the sunlight.  He stops all motion and just stares.  He stares for a long while and Elizabeth considers that she’s perhaps being odd to continue watching.  And then, at that very instant he turns his face with a quickness and looks directly at Elizabeth, intensity in his gaze.

Fingers falling off of the metal latch of the door, feet tripping backwards quickly on the uneven linoleum, mouth slightly open as sunlight stretches into the hallway, Elizabeth finds herself a little mortified.  She however, is also very curious.  Very curious.  So she descends back into position but doesn’t have the courage to look up.

Elizabeth, still facing downwards, then opens the door on impulse and walks outside awkwardly.  The feeling of the cool but temperate air hits her and she feels the urge to raise her head.  Eyes up she sees him watching her with a cautious expression in his finely chiseled, fair features.

“Hi.”  She smiles and approaches him, extending her hand. “I’m Eliza.”  Nobody but her close friends call her Eliza and it seems strange in her mind after she says it, but she can’t imagine him calling her Elizabeth.

“Nice to meet you.”  He extends his hand in return and shakes hers with a seriousness. “I’m Pat.”

Their eyes meet for a second and they both smile and then look off.

After their initial greeting, Elizabeth and Pat make pleasant, bright conversation.  He tells her that they are from California and are visiting Sarah and Rich for the weekend before taking a cruise up the coast to Alaska for their third wedding anniversary…

“That sounds like fun.”

Pat laughs and squints off into the sunshine.  Then he lowers his head and stares at his feet before looking up directly at Eliza and saying confidently, “We should go inside.  I think I need to sit down.”

“Oh, really?”  Eliza asks sincerely.

“Yeah, we all took a long walk next to the lake earlier today and I only had two hours of sleep last night.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

They quietly and slowly walk inside, Eliza follows him to the living room and then the sofa.  They silently assume an unusual sort of understanding between each other that feels very comfortable and safe. And it happens as naturally as breathing.

Pat smiles brightly.  “Last night,” he chuckles and flutters his eyes, “Rich went to bed and Sarah and my wife, Stacy, decided to stay up late and smoke pot.”

“What?  I didn’t know that Sarah smoked pot…”

“Yeah, well, apparently she only does around Stacy.”  He stops his story and looks at her as if he’s about to provide necessary background information, which he then does, “They were roommates for three years at NYU and then for two years in Philly after college.”

“So that’s how you know Rich and Sarah?”

“Yes.  She was a bridesmaid in our wedding.”

“Oh…  Hmm.”

He suddenly studies Eliza’s face and their eyes meet carefully.  He  calculates the subtleties of her tiny movements until he reaches her with his eyes and they share a moment where much is felt but nothing is spoken.

“Anyway, they were up really late and I couldn’t sleep so I just sat and watched.”  An amused smile lights his face and he lifts his brows up and then down gently.

“That must have been interesting.”

“It was.  It was…”  He leans back, looking off into his memory of the night before.

“I found out a lot about Stacy that I never knew…  And,” he looks at her now with a loaded expression, “a lot about Sarah…” He keeps looking at Eliza.

“Oh…”  Eliza believes she knows exactly what he’s talking about.  She looks up at him.

“Yeah.  Where is Sarah now anyway?”  He looks concerned.

“She’s getting something at the grocery store.”

“How do you know that?  Did she tell you?”

Eliza feels confused.  “No, but Rich said that that’s where they all were going.  My husband, Rich and her all left together.”

He looks at her and bits his bottom lip. “Oh. Ok.”

“What?”

He shakes his head back and forth and then continues, “They’ve been fighting all day.  They left without telling Stacy and me where they were going.”

“What?!”

“Yeah.  But…  They do stuff like that.”  He snorts.

“They do?”

“Yes!  You’ve never seen it?”

“No…”  She looks quizzically at him.

“Hmm.  Mmm.”  He inhales rather loudly, reaches up and grabs his chin, resting his face against his hand.  And, again, he looks deeply into her eyes and smiles when she seems overwhelmed.

“We met them five years ago when my husband worked with Rich…”  Eliza volunteers to him.

“They fight.  A lot…”  Then he looks down at his hands and off towards the direction of the back door.

“Where was your wife going?”

He looks back at her slightly stunned, and seemingly a little thrilled that she so quickly read him.  “Oh!  She just…”  He wrinkles his face.  “She goes off to be alone sometimes.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”  He seems slightly embarrassed, but that doesn’t stop Eliza who feels an urging to keep asking questions.

“Where does she go?”

He gazes yet again and then smiles with a faint whimsy.  “She never tells me actually.  And I stopped asking questions last year.  I used to but…”

“Is she ok?”

“Yes.  I know she’s not addicted to anything other than cigarettes.”

“I’m sorry if I’m asking too many questions.”

He smiles sweetly and shakes his head.

“I don’t want to frighten you,” he says before rolling his eyes up, away and almost laughing to himself.

“I hope…” But she can’t continue.

“So, what’s the plan for tonight?  Do you know?” He gently breaks the quiet.

“I actually really wanted to go for a walk by the lake, but it sounds like that’s no longer desirable.”

He nods sympathetically and then they both hear the front door open.  In walks everyone all at once.  Pat and Eliza both look and feel befuddled…

“Hey guys.”  Sarah seems peculiarly upset and tired as she lays down her handbag on the ottoman near the door to the hallway.  Her face makes movements intended for the pair on the sofa, but she doesn’t look at either of them.

“Hey, Sarah.”  Elizabeth looks at her and tries to verbally reach out but Sarah just walks silently and coldly out of the room.

“Hey!”  Luke walks in the room and sits down on the plush leather chair in front of the fireplace at the center.  He seems tired too.

“How was that?”  Elizabeth wants to call Luke honey like always, but stops herself.  She realizes instantly that it’s because Pat is  listening and she feels a mixture of emotions forbidden, beautiful and upsetting.

“Well, we found the right meat but otherwise were unsuccessful.”

“How so?”

“They didn’t have any lighter fluid.”

“So there isn’t going to be a fire tonight?”

“It’s supposed to rain anyway,”  Rich announces as he pops his head into the living room quickly.

“Oh.”

Everyone is quiet and then Stacy walks in and sits down on the piano bench. She looks sulky and annoyed for some unknown reason as well…

“Hey, Stace.” Pat sweetly calls at her.

She looks up and smiles at Pat kindly but says nothing. Eliza notices that she seems very distracted.

After a pleasant and amazingly calm dinner indoors they all retire off to their rooms for a while before coming down again.  In Eliza and Luke’s room a conversation starts.

“So, how did it go today?” Eliza begins.

“Fine.”

“Fine in what way?  What does fine mean?”

“It was fine.  Everything went well.”

“Did anything happen?”

“We talked while we were at the store but other than that we didn’t say much to each other.”

Elizabeth’s breathing quickens. “I saw you all laughing as you were leaving though.”

“Oh, well.  Yeah.  I think she made a joke.”

“So maybe it wasn’t all totally fine?”

Silence.

And then the conversation continues with Elizabeth taking even more of an uncomfortable lead.  “So, maybe it wasn’t really all ok.  Did anything flirty happen?”

“No.  I mean she brought up the piano lessons again, but this time I told her that it wouldn’t work out.”

It made sense now.  The coldness…

“How did she take it?”

“She said it was ok.  She asked me if I knew any good piano teachers.”

“Ok.” And then in a moment of guilt, “I talked a lot with Pat today.  The guy downstairs.”

“I’m confused.  Is he Stacy’s husband?”

“Yes.” Eliza wonders how he met Stacy but doesn’t ask.

“Alright.”  He looks a little confused and almost irritated by her emphasis.

“I think we might have talked too much.  I’m sorry.”

Luke shakes his head and then starts working on a game on his cell phone.

“Are you upset?  I’m sorry.”

“Upset?” He leads the conversation.

“Yeah.  By what I just said.”

“No.  I really don’t care.”  He smiles sweetly and sincerely but doesn’t seem to see the point of the conversation.  Elizabeth moves next to him on the bed.

“Well, maybe you should care.”

He completely ignores her now and continues playing his game.

 

*Because I’m starting this short story late this month, I’ve decided to post in three pieces instead of one.

Well, I sent a message to an old flame on Facebook.  He hasn’t read it but I hope someday he will…

I had to.    I really did…  It was driving me up the wall not to say anything.  He needed to know a few things about our past.  At least, I think he did…

I wish people would write me such letters.  Ha!  I’m serious though.  I do.

Until Saturday.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sud Magnolia

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It opens with a bright, slightly sweet, citrus fruitiness (Atelier Cologne 2015) that is refreshing, and uplifting, but in a way that is almost otherworldly.  It reminds me of the way the air smells in the winter, on a truly cold morning – frozen and fresh but with an added glamour and dazzle.  Then, into the drydown, Magnolia Sud warms and softens.  It reminds me a great deal of a few scents from Tocca actually.  It has that floral, watery, elegance the speaks of youtfulness and joy.  Magnolia Sud is irrepressible.

Top notes: bitter orange, pomelo, and black currant.  Middle notes: saffron, rose, and magnolia.  Base notes:  Atlas cedar, musk and sandalwood.  

Lil’ and Lex:  Part IV of IV

I woke up Saturday morning after having the oddest dream.  I dreamed I was on a large boat with my Grandma Dorothy and we were looking out over the ocean together.  Only she was young again…  And yet she seemed old at the same time.  It was nearly indescribable actually…  She all at once seemed to have the maturity of someone her age or more so, and yet this certain vitality and beauty that comes more easily with youth.

We talked about something…  It was a wonderful, warm conversation.  But I couldn’t remember it when I woke up.  The details were lost.  All I had was a general impression and a deep, close feeling that was impossible to ignore.

My last glance at her face gave me the idea that she was incredibly happy. I couldn’t believe how happy she seemed actually.

Then, I was awake, in my dark room, sitting in silence.  I looked around and I thought about those stories you hear about people having dreams about their loved ones when they die.  It seemed unlikely to me, because I’m naturally given to thinking most things of that sort are unlikely, but I still wondered.  Who wouldn’t at least a little?

Anyway, later that day, my mom called me as I was sitting down to eat lunch.  And, the moment she started, I knew…

“Your Grandma Dorothy has gone home to be with the Lord.”

“Really?”

“Yes, she died last night of a heart attack while she was asleep.  She’s gone now…”

My mom sounded in shock.

“You know, I had a dream about her last night…”

“Yeah, I did too…”  My mom’s voice broke into tears.  “I’m sorry…”  she apologized for crying.

“No, mom.  Please cry if you need to.”

She awoke in a quiet place.  It was quieter than anywhere she had ever been, aside from maybe her nursery as a young child.  She felt a lightness, and yet firmness she had never felt before, even in her youth, and as her eyes took in the brightness around her, pouring it seemed from windows that were more open, more clear than she could ever remember,  she finally saw her mother’s face on a beautiful woman in the corner siting on a dark blue velvet chaise.  

“Mom?!”

“So, what do you think?  You know where you are don’t you love?”  

She didn’t need to respond.  Words weren’t necessary here.  This place, often called heaven seemed better than that word could begin to indicate, mostly because there was no doubt for one second that it was real.

“I can’t go back can I?”  

Her mother laughed with a smirk, as if it was almost funny but in a beautiful sort of way.  The sort of way that would scare anyone still “alive.”

“Where is…”

And at once she was on a boat…  sailing…  Sunny skies.   Then his lips…  He was there.  And she smiled.  

“Are you ready to go meet Him?”  

Can I? ”  

“Yes.  But…”

Their eyes locked and she could see into him as he saw into her.   Then his eyes looked towards someone behind them and there stood her granddaughter sleepy and confused in her pajamas.  

“Oh, darling girl.”  She rushed up to her and grabbed her hands…  “Have I got news to tell you!”  Then without words, she spoke, “You won’t remember a word of this when you wake up, but…  I just have to tell you… ”  

Her granddaughter smiled and nodded in understanding.  

Aquarius

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Aquarius (Max Factor 1970) begins with a shout of green notes, and leads into a dirty, indolic jasmine. Eventually it’s warm (sandalwood, vanilla and patchouli), embracing and yet quite sharp.  It seems to be the epitome of most 1970’s green scents in fact…

Top notes: bergamot.  Middle notes: floral notes.  Base notes: amber, sandalwood, vanilla, labdanum, patchouli, and vetiver. 

Lil’ and Lex: Part I of IV

When my Grandma Dorothy was seventeen years old she won a beauty contest in Sydney, California.  A man at the contest walked up to her afterwards and said in southern sugary, smooth, long drawn-out sort of way, “My but my.  You sure do have the prettiest smile I evah have seen.”  Then he showed a toothy grin and threw his toothpick in all directions among his front teeth.  With a pat on the top of his hat he turned sharply and then added, “You are going to marry a prince someday young lady.  And by gum, I wish that pince was me.”

Ulysees Maxwell Jackson III, called Lex by his friends, was a sort of prince I suppose.  His father was an extremely wealthy man and nobody messed with the Jacksons.  Nobody in those days at least.  They were the sort of family that had both an exorbitant amount of money to spend and enormous collective intelligence, charm, and influence to spend their money well.  Lex, the oldest son, was his father’s favorite.

Lex had handsome hazel eyes and a ruddy complexion that brightened a structured, manly visage.  He wasn’t the sort of man to wear his heart on his sleeve, despite his often optimistic and almost bubbly demeanor, but he was a gentleman.  My Grandma told me that he that he once invited her to the Founder’s Day Dance and when she was too sick to attend with him he went and sat at her bedside the entire night and read her David Copperfield.  Of course, if he had gone he surely would have been the most popular boy at the dance according to Grandma.  He swept her off her feet, I guess.

He was sturdy too.  As, Grandma said, “…he didn’t have to raise his voice.  All you had to do was look into his eyes and it was enough to stop you in your tracks a mile away.”

For Grandma Dorothy, with her pretty blond hair, blue eyes and freckles lacing the space between her button nose and her pretty pink pout, he was the sun, moon and stars all rolled into one gorgeous creature.  And, of course, she was his darling. Dory, as she was called, was an incredibly cheerful, light-hearted young woman back then.  Her only vice was smoking. Otherwise, just like her hair, she was seemingly golden perfection.

Dory was smart.  Her entire family was.  Her older brother, my Great Uncle Clarence, became a prominent surgeon in California in the 1950’s and 60’s.  And she was sweet, and sincere, if a bit too daring at times.

No, they were a great match.  Everyone said so.

~

Dear Diary,                                                                   June 24, 1938

Today was so nice.  Lex drove us down to the coast in his new convertible.  We drove with the top down the whole way there – the wind blowing in our hair.  By the time we reached the beach we looked less than our ideal selves. Ha!

It was nobody but us the entire day and I’ve never felt so grand in my life.  Lex asked me to marry him when he returns from Standford next spring.  I said yes, of course.  

I cannot imagine waiting an entire year to marry the man of my dreams…  I think I’m going to have to distract myself, which shouldn’t be too difficult.  Once mother finds out about our engagement I’m sure she’ll have ten million things for us to do.  

Oh I hope Lex doesn’t mind marrying into such a silly family…  They’re intensely lovable, but oh so fantastic sometimes.  

Lil’ ol’ me

~

June 26th, 1938

…”…and you, the fairest of them all, will be my queen, concubine and closest counsel…”  Oh I love how he talks to me.  He often tells me of the great things he plans to do with his life, and yet sometimes when he’s really quiet he worries about the future. In those moments I look into his eyes and see why I love him so.  I love him from the bottom to the top and back again.  I love him from every piece of me.  

He tells me, “Promise me that you won’t ever let anyone love you the way I do.”  Of course, I reassure him that I never will, but he always seems so scared by something and I asked him why once.  He told me that when he was eleven he was at a county fair with his younger brother and they visited the fortune-teller’s booth and she read their fortunes.  She said that one of them would be famous before he turned 30 and the other would be dead.  Lex said that he has always had the sense that she was only telling the truth no matter what anyone told him.  There’s not much I can say that will change his mind.  “Just promise me that you’ll never belong to anyone else.  Promise me that I’m the only one who will ever truly know you.”  Of course I agree, but sometimes I can’t help but feel spooked out by the whole thing…