As a child, I liked to play with my grandmother’s perfumes. During lulls in playtime, I would pad into the bathroom and climb up onto the toilet seat to reach for the shimmering bottles in the upper cabinet, taking turns holding the containers to my nose and considering their scents. Grandma would warn me against using the more expensive smells, the amber liquids sloshing around in glass bottles as I handled them carefully. I would run my fingers over the smooth glass and place them gently back on the shelf, instead reaching for the plastic spray bottles of body sprays and the tiny free samples she’d collected over time.
Brushing the dust off the nozzles and carefully lining the bottles up on the beige counter top, I would mix these inexpensive fragrances, tipping arbitrary amounts into their bottles as if I was a scientist in a lab who had perfected the art of perfumery. After achieving what was to my youthful mind, a perfectly ladylike scent, I would spritz my wrists with the dark liquid like I had seen my grandma do so many times before we left for church. In the end, I would always emerge from the guest bathroom smelling not unlike a reject bin at a Bath & Body Works store.
I would parade around the house on my bare feet, a toothy smile stretched across my face and pushing my freckles around, feeling like the epitome of a proper lady in my fancy new perfume.