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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. You can read more of her writing on Substack at Katie's Ground.