Grief is a Ghost
Shock

I found two near-empty bottles of Vernon’s cologne on Maki’s dresser. I’d put them aside in the hall closet when I did a big clear out last spring, but somehow he found them and brought them into his den along with a lot of his dad’s clothes and shoes (which happen to fit him right now.) I sprayed some on each arm and sit here smelling them, hoping the scent will jog some memories or attachments just out of reach.

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I close my eyes and inhale the scent on my left arm. It reminds me of a vague someone. Why can’t it remind me of him?

I break into tears because it doesn’t even smell familiar to me. Did he stop wearing it a long time ago? Perhaps it just smells different on my female skin. Why can’t I remember?

The clothes we kept of his now all smell like fourteen-year old Maki. And the scents I remember most recently are nursing home smells, so pungent at first, but you get used to them pretty quickly. You have no choice.
This fragrance smells amazing. It’s MAN 2 by Comme des Garcons. Here’s the description I found online: “The fragrance of a craftsman, a man who loves his work and accepts nothing less than perfection, MAN mixes classic and unusual elements to express a distinctive, masculine, and powerful signature. The scent’s personality comes though a blend of complementary and contrasting hints of moss and wood. Fresh woody incense, white smoke, and saffron notes make way for a heart of essential nutmeg, bright kumquat, and mint. The dry down expresses the precision of the worker’s finishing touches with a trail of vetiver, exquisite mahogany, and leather.”

Maybe words can access my heart more than a scent because this description certainly triggers my memory. If Vernon were a scent, the description fits him very well, even down to the “craftsman, a man who loves his work and accepts nothing less than perfection.” I image he would agree. I believe it’s what he aspired to be.

The other arm now. This one is called Standard. It’s not as strong, but I can almost recall this on his skin a little more. Not completely, but I feel like my memory is stirred. I look up a description:

“An ideology which is more art than tech. Modernist white wood with notes of rusted metal. The overall effect, however, is unmistakably Comme des Garçons: a medicinal-woody scent, vibrant with the combustible, pencil-shaving fumes of cedar and a cold, almost incense-like effect. Highly diffusive, totally distinctive and as elegantly pared-down as Alvar Aalto’s iconic Mid-century Modern designs. You can’t get edgier than that.”

Pegged him again. I’m sure he’d like to be remembered like that as well. What a classy guy. He’s coming back to me now, I can remember him.

(I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon smelling the cologne on my left arm till it comes back to me too.)

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Grief is a Ghost
Shock