It all started in Paris.
It was my second (of three) time(s) there, at about this time of year. Cold, rainy, grey, wet. But still Paris. And there was one unmistakeable thing that stood out, that kept hitting me in the face over and over.
Paris has a smell.
It’s a perfume, a sweet delicious scent wafting gently from impeccably-clad Parisian women on the Metro, on the street, a subtle hint here and there. And it was all the same, all the same scent. The scent of Paris.
I wanted to take it home with me, to have to savor in odd moments, to bring me back to the clusters of crunchy baguette sandwiches cheaply available at any patisserie to consume while strolling down the sidewalk while looking at the gorgeous produce displayed in stalls lining the streets of the Latin Quarter. Or to bring me back to the buttery sweet soft-crisp-crunch of the Mardi Gras crepes available for just one day each year in any chocolaterie.
So I went into a department store. Not just any department store, but the Galeries Lafayette. If they didn’t have the scent of Paris, no one would.
I went straight to the perfume counter and set to work smelling every bottle. It had to be there somewhere. Every woman in Paris owned this scent, drifted it across the waiting nostrils of sentimental Americans at every opportunity; surely it would be here.
And it was. I had it wrapped up securely and I brought it home tenderly. The scent of Paris.
And I wore that scent for a couple of years. I sprayed it in my bedroom from time to time, and on the bed. I wanted to sleep in Paris, and breathe it in. Then a subsequent pregnancy caused me to swear off any scent at all lest I lose what little lunch I was consuming. And the scent of Paris lay fallow.
Until this past Saturday, when I glanced at my dresser, fairly bare except for a few unused bottles of scent and other paraphernelia, and remembered Paris.
It was time to have Paris again.
I sprayed one tiny spritz in the room, misting an invisible wearer who would walk through the bare mist, allowing only a modest amount to cling. Then I went downstairs.
A few minutes later I was seized with disgust. Serena was having a shower and must have been using an entire bottle of shampoo! How perfumey! How wasteful! I’d better go up and check.
Upstairs, the scent was stronger making a left turn instead of a right. A right turn was where Serena hadn’t even made it into the shower yet, whereas a left turn was…my bedroom. I walked in and nearly choked. The scent was unbearable. How did I ever think this smelled good?? And ohmygod how did it ever get so strong? How was I going to even sleep in the room?
I opened a window despite the frigid temperatures. I’d rather freeze to death anyway than asphyxiate.
Had to close the window before too long, and it did little good anyway. WHAT WAS I THINKING??
I guess I’m a little more sensitive than I used to be, because no one else noticed a thing.
Paris is going in the trash anyway.