Perfume

She was present in Laura’s nightmares, though Laura could never bring herself to admit this. Laura would stand at her mother’s side and welcome her with all the ardour which existed within her body, within her bones, but it would never be enough. Her mother was the very personification of misery, though Laura liked to laugh and reply that her mother’s goodness was alive, though it might well have been invisible to animals without an innate ability to smell blood. I’d look at her beautiful eyes, deep pools of azure framed by limp blonde hair which swayed neatly about her shoulders, and tell her that some people were simply born incapable of love. I could see how she would try to understand, but instead her smile would steal strikingly across her face and break my heart into pieces. Her mother had never treated her with the same love which she was willing to pour from her heart; and she did so very willingly, perhaps in an attempt to fill the great vast in-between the desirable reciprocating of love and the realistic severance of any form of affection, with something much more exquisite. Perhaps this was why I despised this woman so, and as I held her daughter’s frail and beautiful form against my own, the thought of her mother’s contemptibility caused my stomach to spasm in incredulity. How something so hideous had created such a delicate frame was implausible, and my mind shook with mordantly unsolicited  prayers of unqualified thanks.

Laura had once given her mother a small bottle of perfume as a gift, and it had proved to had been the only thing she had ever taken a great deal of interest in. She would wear it every day, and I had come to associate the sickly sweet scent of pomarose and sandalwood with acts of vileness and hatred. The bottom layers of the scent stuck to the back of your throat and caused a gagging sensation, but the beauty of the gift would come to reflect how the perfume itself was not contemptible, rather it was the woman who wore it. I watched Laura look at her mother, attentive and swathed with an intricate jealousy of her mother and her sardonic connection to the very nature of detachment. I looked on them as the contrast of day and night, of beauty and the not so beautiful, a woman willing to love even the most undeserving of love, and the heartless whose mirth exploded, revelling in the despising all others, and the crushing of the love from the willing.

Her death of course would not yield any greater joy, as was her wont. To see Laura’s wretched spirit writhe in guilt and sadness caused me greater pain than I had ever felt before, even within the darkest reaches of my memories. The burning of her mother’s body caused an unbearable suffocation to fall upon the congregation, a grey day, for an even greyer soul. Unable to feel grief for her mother’s passing, my entire power was spent on grief for my poor Laura’s anguish; confusion at the disassociation of her mother’s love, and a longing for the touch of her embrace. She would not yield in life, perhaps her death would bring some comfort.

We drove to the door of her mother’s house, and we held hands as we stepped through the door frame. Closing the large wooden door gently behind us caused my heart to pound at the prospect of being sealed within a house of such despair, where none had really known the joys of living. We began in the kitchen, sorting her mother’s belongings, and then into the living room- tables faded in patterns representing fragments where photographs once stood, faces of old, of those no longer in our company. Trinkets covered by blankets of filth, sharp to the touch, unappealing faces of clowns and of cats immortalised in porcelain. Our task was arduous and extensive, and our menial activities soon drew Laura and I apart, as I  descended the stairs to the basement, and Laura ascended to her mother’s bedroom.

There she carefully packed away her mother’s old clothes and linen, her shoes and old documents printed on paper so fine, it could crumble at the lightest touch. She happened upon a small key at the bottom of one of the drawers, a small brass creation with faded imprints which suggested an amount of over-use, or at the height of Laura’s imagination, a great deal of love. She knew which box it would open, and yet so overwhelmed by the amount of care and security her mother had exercised at protecting such an item, she sat for many minutes gazing out of the window into the grey sky. Black clouds had started to gather at the edges of the horizon, and Laura smiled to herself; storms could breathe life into the dullest of days, and at this very moment, would breathe life into her shattered limbs. She carefully rummaged at the bottom of her mother’s wardrobe and retrieved a small box. She instantly recognised the green and cream horizontal stripes reaching from one side of the box to the other, bridging the distance between the cold metal frame which surrounded it. Her heart leaped into her throat as she turned the key and lifted the lid of the old container; inside she found countless cosmetics, years old, and she traced her fingers along each one in turn, each dusty item sending an electrical impulse through her veins, never feeling as close to her mother as she did in this moment. The entirety of time seemed not to matter as a stale sweetness filled her head. She had almost forgotten that the scent had clung to the very fabric of the room, as now within the box the smell emanated more distinctly. Inside the dim pink fabric of the inside of the box, her fingers found an object much less dusty than all the others, it was the very thing she had been searching for. Though the embossing had faded, Laura could still feel the outline of the letters beneath her skin, and she held the entity in front of her eyes for a short while longer before she allowed herself to breathe in deeply. It was her mother’s perfume, Laura’s gift to her many, many years ago. She rubbed away the stains adorning the outside of the container, and held the small chamber in her hands, watching the diminutive remnants of liquid swish inside their tiny prison. She held her breath as she delicately sprayed a small amount of perfume across her chest, and slowly allowed herself to breathe in the decayed scent of love, from so many years ago; pinks and greens, memories of hope and of unrelenting feeling.

My Laura had entered her mother’s house as a beautiful woman, her eyes deep pools of azure, framed by limp blonde hair, which swayed neatly about her shoulders. She left the house with the stale perfume clinging to her chest, and though we had tried to rid her skin of the scent it infused deep within her, pervaded her clothes, entered our home. Her eyes were never able to settle, they would squirm and struggle to comprehend any beauty which came before them. She disregarded the splendour of flowers, and accepted instead the dire complacency of their plastic counterparts. She became tired and withered, and her love of all things was soon displaced by a seething hatred akin to her mother’s. She became night, the not so beautiful, the heartless whose mirth exploded, revelling in the despising all others, and the crushing of the love from the willing. My love had gone, her heart dissolved in the languishing of the old and stale. We would not know joy again, though the scent of pomarose and sandalwood would forever linger in our throats.

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About Anna

Author of the Insanity Aquarium. Current fears include time as a concept, the squishiness of my right eyeball, and not being able to open this jar.
This entry was posted in Darkness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Perfume

  1. darkjade68 says:

    Wow, Beautiful Gravatar… Your Hair looks so cool

    DJ-

    Like

    • Anna says:

      Thank you my dear! I thought it was time for a change, I was bored of looking ‘normal’ :D

      Like

    • darkjade68 says:

      Tell me about it, I need to Die my hair Black or Dark Purple, haven’t decided yet… But I need to do it, been Dark Brown for years, used to Die it Black

      DJ-

      Like

    • darkjade68 says:

      Argh *Dye, Lol

      Like

    • Anna says:

      If you do dye it purple, I will be insanely jealous! I have to stick to relatively regular colours at work, red’s about the furthest I can go… and I got bored with that eventually XD

      Like

    • darkjade68 says:

      Yeah, the only reason I can get away with it, is because I work from home… I had the same problem back when I was working in offices… I’ve never done it purple before, only black, and one time I did this color that apparently looked eggplant under office lights, Lol… I changed it immediately, as it was at an office job that I discovered it, ha

      I’ll only show you a picture if I go with black, hee hee

      DJ-

      Like

  2. The Hook says:

    You’ve touched me, young lady….
    Well done.

    Like

  3. DarkJade said it best when he said, “brilliant.” This is one of your best works. I read it three times to pick up on all the little subtleties. You are really becoming a great writer. The story was so well written. It held my interest all the way through. There were so many amazing sentences. These were my favorites.

    “She disregarded the splendour of flowers, and accepted instead the dire complacency of their plastic counterparts.”

    ” I looked on them as the contrast of day and night, of beauty and the not so beautiful, a woman willing to love even the most undeserving of love, and the heartless whose mirth exploded, revelling in the despising all
    others, and the crushing of the love from the willing.”

    “The burning of her mother’s body caused an unbearable suffocation to fall upon the congregation, a grey day, for an even greyer soul.”

    “Closing the large wooden door gently behind us caused my heart to pound at the prospect of being sealed within a house of such despair, where none had really known the joys of living.”

    Thank you so much for sharing your talent.

    Like

    • Anna says:

      Oh Patrick, thank you so much- your kind words have really made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I’m really honoured that you’ve said that I’m turning into a great writer- if I was just half as good as you though, I’d be happy with that :)

      Like

  4. Pete Howorth says:

    Agh, too many huge blocks of texts! You should add more paragraphs Anna, it makes it very difficult to follow.

    But I perservered because of the love we share and I thought overall, it was very beautiful in a dark way much like my face :), I need to get me some of that perfume and spray my enemies with it.

    Like

    • Anna says:

      I’d decided to write something a bit lengthier this week, and the paragraphs were a concious decision to heighten the effect of the piece, but never fear! There shall likely be more snappy ‘cut your throat open’ goodness next week- it’s always floating in my brain somewhere, right at the back of my eyeballs.

      Like

    • Pete Howorth says:

      Haha don’t get me wrong, I loved it, I just kept losing where I was reading because I had a full page of text in one block :) perhaps it’s because I have a short attention span

      Like

  5. darkjade68 says:

    Beautiful, and Brilliant… But I’m sure you already knew I’d Love this, Lol
    But truly Anna, I freely admit that your mind has no limitations… You get life… You get love… You get beauty… You get horror

    Life is a fricken Drama, and you and I the Players… There are Highs, and Lows, Beauties, and Pain… Laura is Beautiful, and her Mother is Simply Destroyed…

    I say, Shatter the Perfume, sprout Wings, and Fly Away… Fly so high, and never look back… Well… Maybe sometimes… But not too often.

    I Love your Writing, I suspect you will always be my Favorite Writer… And that is just cool… I’ve never actually been much of a Reader… But with your work, I hang on every word.

    Brilliant Anna… Brilliant, and Beautiful.

    Laura is Beautiful, and I Feel sorry for her Mother… But in the end, we are not our parents… No matter how much we might resemble them… Our Souls are 1000% different, and our own. Thank God, right? Lol

    I Love My Parents… But I am not them… I am me, and that’s just the way I want it to be..

    Nuff Said

    I’m so happy that you Wrote this Piece

    DarkJade-

    Like

    • Anna says:

      Thank you so much DarkJade! Unfortunately I sometimes feel that I have too much of my parents in me, though without their little traits I wouldn’t quite be the person I am today. It is in trying to be different where the most difficulty is found, but it is indeed a very worthy cause.

      Like

    • darkjade68 says:

      Don’t spend too much energy in “Trying To Be Different” then your folks… And what I mean by that is, don’t let what they “aren’t”, be your motivation to be the opposite.

      Let me splain, Lol My Brother has been married to his Wife for 17 years… The two of them are very different, and have spent many of their years together arguing, and to a degree, not being happy.

      And their main motivation of staying together has been – My Brother = “I don’t want to be like our dad and leave”… And hers = “I don’t want to abandon my kids like my mom did me”…

      The outcome, yes they are great parents, and the kids are amazing… But, his Wife hasn’t left the Relationship with my Brother, nor the Kids… But she has been a good 60 to 70% emotionally unavailable… Meaning, even though she hasn’t “Physically” left the kids, she has largely “Emotionally” left them a long time ago.

      Leaving the emotional burden on my brother, who by staying, has been with a Woman that basically isn’t in love with him, but he stays because he’s in love with her, and “he doesn’t want to abandoned the kids like he perceived our dad did us”

      The outcome is, she’s gone from home as much as possible, and my brother is stoned out of his mind in order to deal with 1) his wife isn’t in love with him, and 2) the kids miss their mother, and take it out on their dad.

      He too takes out his relationship with his Wife on the kids…

      And thus, it’s a mess, Lol

      I have issues like anyone else, but I was glad my dad left, as I thought my mom and dad were at terrible match… For whatever reason, I felt this way at 5, and thus have always had peace in regards to him leaving.

      Basically, when you try too hard not to be like your parents, the opposite extreme often happens.

      In my experience, the best you can do is try to understand what happened to you when you were young, and do your best to work with moving on…

      Beyond that, Life should be all about that Shiney Little Sparkly Flare directly in the middle of your heart, that says “I am who I am”

      Forgive the long reply, you know how I am, Lol

      The trick with the past is to come to peace with it as much as possible, but that’s about it… In my experience, the more that you do the things you love, be around the people you love, and pursue the things you love, the more you are being you… Behaviors, which often stem from our past, are truly a bitch… But, I hear it takes about 3 months to change a habit, so if there’s something you want to change, hopefully beyond the 3 months efforts of working on it, perhaps “new” habits will kick in, and old will die…

      Eh, nuff said… Bottomline, we are more than our Past, and we are more than our Behaviors

      Your Soul is Truly Beautiful, which Shines through in all of your Writing, and Photos…

      Nuff Said again, Lol… I know you probably know all of this, but sometimes it’s nice to hear that there other people out there that think the same way as you do, hopefully I am one of them, Lol

      DJ-

      Like

    • darkjade68 says:

      P.S. I agree that it’s good to have some of our parents traits… My dad, though he didn’t know how to be a parent, is a brilliant businessman, and I know that I picked up some of that directly from him… Meaning, I know how to get things done, and build upon something, and bring it to fruition…

      And My Mom has a Huge Heart, which I know is a large part of who I am… She’s just fairly scared of the world, or rather, intimidated by the world, so hasn’t pursued many of her Dreams… But I don’t hold that against her, I just don’t have the Fear that she has within her, which is definitely a direct affect of her childhood…

      Nuff Said x3

      DJ-

      Like

  6. Laura and her mother do seem real and it’s just as if I’ve known them both. Your choices in scent imagery and the subtle yet powerful emotional contrasts are so effective. Your gorier stuff does seem wickedly humorous, but this is a light touch, and I think it’s harder to do well. 10 out of 10. Gold medal.

    Like

    • Anna says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Mikey, I thought it might make a nice change to do something a little different this week- I really appreciate your lovely feedback :)

      Like

  7. Anne Schilde says:

    You surprised me. When they separated, I was like, “Oh nooooo” as I was certain at that point Laura’s love would murder her for the scent of the perfume. But there was no blood in this one at all! I loved the stark contrast between the descriptions of Laura and of her mother. One truly pretty, the other truly hideous.

    Like

  8. Wow, and wow. This is very well done and very powerful.

    Like

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