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Perspective: Discontinuing a part of me

Katie Andraski

As I spritzed my scent. I noticed it was time for a refill. The next time we were at Macy’s I stopped at the perfume counter. “I’d like to buy White Linen,” I said, hoping the saleswoman’s attention would lift my spirits.

“We’re out of stock. It might be discontinued,” she said sadly.

I confused my nose, trying other scents. Nothing smelled close.

The Estee Lauder website says White Linen is a floral scent — Bulgarian rose, jasmine, violet, moss — but to me it’s a scent less like flowers and more like clean sheets billowing in a stout breeze. Richard Wilbur’s poem “Love Calls us to the Things of this World” dances in my nostrils. He says, “Outside the open window/The morning is all awash with angels. Some are in bedsheets; some are in blouses.” I feel cloaked in white raiment, bright as the sun, like Wilbur’s angels.

I’m sure this was a gift from my mother, bought when she picked up her warrior scent — Youth Dew. I have worn it for forty years.

Our scents are primal, drawing us to each other whether we know it or not. Just before we married, Bruce and I were flipping through my family’s album. I’d put on a scent that had been another gentleman’s favorite. Bruce huffed, “Wash that off right now.” And so I did. I’ve often thought if it weren’t for White Linen, Bruce might have walked away. I feel connected to my mom, who would have said, “Bruce is the man I prayed you’d marry.”

I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.

Katie Andraski is an author, blogger, and retired composition teacher at Northern Illinois University