Passage of time

Isn’t it funny – the ordinary, mundane events that can mark the passage of time?

Today my bottle of perfume ran out.


For some time I have watched the line of liquid get lower and lower behind the pink glass. This morning there was barely enough for my required daily application of scent before I went to work.

This event is neither interesting nor noteworthy in the general context of the life, but to me it represents more than an empty bottle.

I bought this bottle of perfume last year, in the first days of October, while I was in France. I stood in the Sephora shop in St Quetin with Ashy as she bought me bottle after bottle to squirt onto the strips of tester card. We sniffed and compared, some were discarded very quickly, others made it to the “interesting’ pile, then eventually we settled on this one. I paid for it in Euros, trying to spend the last of the local currency before we flew home.

Each day since then I have worn this perfume. A sniff of my arm returns me to that store and the exacting process of choosing just the right scent.

Now that it has run out I am one further step removed from that day, from that holiday, from the cool days of Europe in my big red coat and black scarf.

This bottle emptying marks a passage of time. I have bought another bottle – exactly the same, but it came from the pharmacy down the road at the local shopping centre. It smells the same, but using it doesn’t have the same associations. This new bottle belongs to a perfunctory occasion – it was part of a shopping list that included ordinary family items.

The other was just for me. It was special, completely indulgent.

I liked that.


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11 responses to “Passage of time

  1. I so know what you mean in this post. You might have the same scent but it still isn’t ‘that’ bottle. It is like the perfume my sister bought me for my 30th. It ran out long ago and it is available in Australia, (she bought it from her home in the UK) but it isn’t ‘that’ bottle which always took me back to my cosy lounge in our Art Deco East St.Kilda flat…

    If anything, doesn’t it make you want to travel again?

    Oh, I was also going to say, I remember doing a similar thing in Paris about 10 years ago, sniffing and smelling all the different perfumes in this gigantic Perfume store – that afternoon I had the biggest Migraine I had ever had. I am now very wary of smelling too many perfumes.

  2. Hi Tracey

    Ahhhh … that is a sad story but a happy one too … I always put used perfume bottles in my underwear drawer and that way they get a little more use. xx

  3. Nice memories; fun post! Seems as though trying to repeat such an adventure just doesn’t work; but, you had fun while it lasted, eh?

  4. My first bottle of perfume was “Fiji”, bought for me by my Dad. Whenever I get a whiff of Fiji it makes me think of him….

  5. I like that too. Imagining you and Ashy testing until you found just the right one. The indulgences we don’t indulge in often enough.

  6. twolimeleaves

    Oh, gorgeous. I love this post, T.

  7. I know how you feel. I feel the same way whenever I put on perfume that I had originally purchased at Harrod’s in London UK. Whenever I smell it, I am transported back in time almost (gasp) 18 years. I rarely wear perfume now, obliging the request for no fragrance which is so readily found here (ie: doctor offices, most public places ~ why bother wearing perfume if I can’t go where I want to go when I want to go?). If/when I wear perfume, I feel so obvious. I still miss it.

  8. I have the same feelings about a Lancome lipstick I bought which has run out. I got it in duty free on my way back from 5 weeks in Thailand. It’s all about memories.

  9. Perfume is, I find, one of the strongest of memory joggers. In time, you will always associate that scent with your time spent choosing it, with Ashy.

  10. Yes, very true. Scent is very evocative.

  11. How beautifully indulgent, and what a wonderful memory.

    One of my favourite smell-memories is Palmolive soap in cold water. Always takes me back to when I was 10 and showering in cold water in Germany … and that was decades ago!!

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