An Evening In Paris With Mom
by Maggie Van Ostrand
Someone was wearing Evening In Paris perfume the other day, and the scent instantly reminded me of Mom. I haven't smelled Evening In Paris since we lost her, yet its fragrance transported me back to an earlier day.
When I was little, Mom was my goddess. I sometimes clumped around in her high heels, scrunching my toes into a ball in an unsuccessful attempt to keep my feet from sliding all the way down into the pointy toes.
She had beautiful hats, which I dearly wanted to try on, but I couldn't reach them all the way up on the hall closet's top shelf where they perched on faceless wooden heads.
One day, I sneaked into forbidden territory -- my parents' bedroom -- intending to apply the contents of various tubes, jars and bottles of lady stuff; colored pencils; soft, fat brushes; pots of blush and powder.
I smeared her gold-encased, bright red lipstick across my mouth; some color actually made it inside the lip lines. I attacked her huge pink container of powder, and its fuzzy puff created a scented pink cloud as I vigorously pummeled my face with it.
Standing regally in its prominent position on a special shelf above the dressing table was the cobalt blue bottle of Evening In Paris perfume.
Each time I reached for another item, the dressing table jiggled and the Evening In Paris wobbled precariously closer to the edge. I was caught offguard when it came crashing down, striking the vanity's glass top.
The beautiful bottle smashed into blue smithereens, all but the silver stopper. In a frantic effort to stop the perfume from cascading over the table's edge and onto the carpet where a reminder stain might last forever, I panicked, clutching at the wet pile of broken blue glass, gashing my fingers. I can still feel the sting of the perfume as it dribbled over the cuts, on its way to puddle and sink into the carpet.
The concentrated scent was heavy, more like a year in Paris than an evening. And the sound traveled all the way downstairs and into the kitchen where Mom was fixing dinner.
No punishment was necessary, except the pained look she gave me. My own mind did the rest. How did she know precisely what happened?
It wasn't until I became a mother myself that I realized moms don't have to see to know.
Thank you, stranger, for wearing Evening in Paris when you passed.