It's strange how we have certain associations with certain objects. We can't resist that pull - of memory, of familiarity. That inexplicable need to hold on to a material thing because it reminds us of something, or someone.
I remember the first bottle of perfume I ever received. It was called "Incidence", and came in a pinkish, translucent triangular bottle. The smell was subtle, floral and oh-so-feminine. My father'd given it to me on my 15th birthday, he'd wrapped it carefully with a little note on top of the package, that said, "Happy Birthday, for my girl- who's fast becoming a woman."
I didn't keep the wrapping paper. And somehow, regrettably, I misplaced the note. But the bottle I kept for a very long time, even after the perfume had run out. Because that was the last present my father gave me- he died two months later, leaving me with an irreparable sense of loss and among other things, a bottle of perfume that I used very sparingly, almost as if to hold on to a part of him.
And so, I kept it. That empty bottle. Sometimes, when the pain of his absence was sharper than usual, I used to just smell the nozzle of the spray - the fragrance gave me comfort. And it took me almost a couple of years to find the strength and the will to dispose of the bottle. Today, even after the different perfumes I've used - Nina Ricci, Yardley, Escada, Elizabeth Arden, Poison, and Burberry's, that one bottle of Incidence still remains my most special.
I'd thought that perfume wasn't available anymore. Today, I found it, at a store near Lake Market. Needless to say, I bought it. I've just sprayed it once, on my wrist. And every now and then, I'm sniffing my hand. It's a sense of delight I can't explain.
The New Year's started on a good note, I think I'll have a good 2011, but this little object, this seemingly unimportant bottle of perfume - it's given me enough happiness to make me smile for the next few months. Letting go is a part of life, but so is holding on. It's what makes us human.