March 28, 2005

The Scent of a Woman

The scent of tuberose playfully pulls me back to watching my mother ready herself for an evening out. Anywhere that I am when it drifts past me is instantly transformed to the bathroom, complete with lemon yellow tile and matching carpet. She would lean against the sink, getting closer to the mirror, slightly opening her mouth and widening her eyes to apply mascara. When finished she would swipe a wet Q-tip across her lid, tidying up. Next, she would rub a tiny bit of rouge across her cheeks, like the slopes of mountains, peaking just to the side of her face. Red lipstick then rolled out of the tube and slide across her mouth. Now finished, she would step back, her milk chocolate brown eyes blinking several times as she scrutinized her artwork.

Anticipating her exit, I would move back from the door, allowing her to pass into her bedroom. She would dig through her jewelry, selecting the perfect accompaniment piece, and finally, a spritz of her perfume to complete the preparation. Even then, as I do now, I thought her the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.

Once while sitting in a restaurant for brunch, she sipped her coffee, and then returned her eyes to mine to finish the conversation. She was facing the window and the sunlight illuminated her face and eyes. I can't even recall the topic; as soon as she finished speaking, I told her how I had forgotten how lovely her eyes are. Not used to genuine, face-to-face compliments, she fidgeted, but thanked me, and returned to the safety of her coffee and the trivial discussion.

Last summer I wanted a new candle, and so sniffed my way through the isle at Target. I was about to die of cheap scent suffocation when I picked up a small, austere votive, sitting alone on the shelf. Although I hesitated because my septum felt like it was going to explode, I smelled the candle. I slipped through the door of time, and into the little rental home, watching my mother as I so often did. K's request for a trip to the bathroom pulled me back to Utah 2004. I quickly looked at the bottom of the cup for the name of the scent: tuberose. I nestled it between some items in the cart and made my way to the front for K.

It sits in my bathroom and occasionally, as I am going about my day, I have a private moment of transportation to one of the few pleasant memories of my childhood.

Posted by Rae at March 28, 2005 10:33 AM

I love the scent of tuberoses; Cheryl and I shared a massage oil with that as a scent base.

Posted by: Greg at March 28, 2005 12:26 PM

Great post; I have re-read it several times now. Takes me back to watching my mom put on her makeup.

Posted by: Greg at March 28, 2005 12:59 PM

What a lovely memory. I often smell my mother's once-favorite perfume on a complete stranger and become atransported back to another time and place. I used to sit on my mother's bed and watch her put her makeup on in her bathroom. I was overcome by the memory and habit of this when I was visiting her in February, when I found myself once again sitting on her bed, talking with her as she put on her makeup. I laughed at myself at the time, amused at my own predictability. But today I am smiling at the memoy of my mother's love. I am so grateful that I still have her here on this earth with me. So many others have passed on in recent years and are in poor health now. Thank you for the reminder!

Posted by: Alisha at March 28, 2005 01:34 PM
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