She checks the answering machine as soon as she enters the house, something she’s done for more years than she can remember, hoping against hope that he will finally call, and she can be happy again.
Trying to absorb his scent from his clothes, she sniffs and sniffs until her nose feels raw, and then the crushing reality once again slams her upside her head, and crushes her heart: Her son is dead.
Waiting in line at Burger King, hungry for food and hungry for her husband Steve, she daydreamed about how she would ravish him when they got home, while leaning into him with her head resting on his back but wondering why she could not smell his familiar scent.
Her eyes, suddenly caught by the handsome man who was now turned around and smiling questioningly at her, from 10 feet away, opened in wide surprise and embarrassment when she realized her mistake – that the smiling stranger was Steve.
As he lit the flame, he hoped his smell would linger over her house like an obstinate cloud and infuse itself into every inch of her surroundings.
It was, after all, the only thing she had ever liked about him.
“How about this one?” Jeremy asked after spritzing the cologne onto a paper tab and holding it right up to my nostrils.
“No!” I shouted almost too immediately, thrusting his hand away, but my memory had already whisked me swiftly away back into Frederick’s strong arms that held me firmly but swayed me delicately back and forth, back and forth to the subtle music of the cold wind that rushed through the celadon fields of the Falklands in a way that made individual blades of grass take turns reflecting the sun’s iridescent light, and as we stood there on that rocky cliff overlooking the edge of eternity, tears clinging desperately to our cheeks but ultimately plummeting to their death, he begged me please oh please don’t go.