It was my last day in South Africa and I was in the process of saying goodbye — honestly, I remember very little of most of it, I was numb, dead from the waist down, going through the motions, nodding, smiling AND completely aware that I wasn’t present but still unable to do a thing about it.
I wore Estee Lauder White Linen then because it reminded me of a simpler time that I hoped would help me get through those last days – my life at that stage was in a state of complete upheaval as I was about to emigrate to the UK and was trying to avoid the door smacking all sorts of crap out of me on the way out.
One of my last dinners was with OP… I don’t know what he was – not an ex, friend or mate … I guess he was a pal… we went out a few times and then it stopped after I gave it a label and called it a RELATIONSHIP. We’d kept in touch over the years, I didn’t always know what to say to him and I never really understood why he bothered. But about once a year, like an aunt, he’d take me out for coffee and cake…
That particular evening, while regaling me with tales of trickery and tomfoolery, during a natural lull in conversation, quite unexpectedly OP quietly observed…
“You still wear White Linen…”
Floored, I said, “I beg your pardon,” not because I wanted to hear it again, but because I wasn’t certain his motives for saying such a thing — I was grappling for a suitable response.
“I had a girlfriend who once wore that,” he grinned toothily emphasising his slightly lopsided, skeletal features, “one day she reached up to hug me and I caught a whiff of it and it reminded me of you….. so I told her to… Go… Have a shower… and Never wear that again.”
I wondered vaguely if she became his girlfriend because she never called it a RELATIONSHIP….
“Ah…” I replied speechless … honestly, to this day I’m still not quite sure what I could have said to that.
I finished the bottle after I moved – it helped the process, having a familiar scent like that … but after the last squoosh , I couldn’t bring myself to replace it so I went on a quest to find something else that I loved even more.
It took a few years until I discovered Chanel No. 5 — Way too expensive to wear all the time, but I love it more than the other and best of all… over time its become associated with incredibly good memories of my day to day life.