Oh, Mamá. You emerged for the day, sweet and smiling, like a rosy peach. Gardenia girl, peddling your beloved White Shoulders. Thrill of jasmine, lily of the valley, orange blossom, and tuberose. Your emboldened allure so overpowering it gagged us.

Some nose sold out for a sentimental note, a saccharin whiff. Our appeals to not spray it on so thick prompted a backlash. “Spoilsports,” you said. But how kind, you came up with the idea of a misting, spraying a cloud of fragrance to walk through, fully clothed. Soon, your closet reeked.

Four authentic bottles were tucked in your vanity drawer. The gaudy gold cap caught my eye. The big bottle was half full, made it appear as if the crudely embossed ingenue was drowning in the dime store stuff. Tresses long, breasts bared, her nondescript features were the dead giveaway.

The big bottle towered over a pink box, still cellophane-wrapped and tamper free which dwarfed the two travel-sized clones, like pawns in a game of chess. I pick up the big bottle. I spritz the air and cautiously lurch forward from my waist to catch a whiff without letting the florid mixture touch my skin. My hand inclined toward the trash bin. I vacillated. I held the ridiculed mister close and greedily salvaged all four bottles to permit illicit inhales of you now that you’re gone.

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