“I don’t feel it’s an accomplishment simply living this long.”
“Mother, your humility is astonishing.” Sue laughed and picked up her mother’s hand to touch it to her cheek and kiss it before placing it back in the lap of the centenarian.
“You always were sassy.” Helena shook her finger at her daughter. With a grin, she held her hands up for support to rise, and her daughter obliged. They waved to the employees and walked outside to the gardens. The parfumier had fully retired only this year when her eyesight vexed her, but her nose, insured for millions, continued to impress. She stopped and closed her eyes to enjoy the scents vying for attention. There was the hyacinth used for little girls’ eau de toilette—it had always smelled like candy to her, expensive French candy. Full notes of jasmine hit her olfactory nerves; such a versatile fragrance, toning down the spiciness of ginger and playing off a woman’s natural smell.
“It’s so lovely, isn’t it, honey?”
Sue put an arm around her mom’s shoulders. “It is.” She also closed her eyes. “Thank you for sharing this with me.” Sue’s daughter followed in her stead, now running grandma’s parfumerie on her own, with sage input from her elders, training her own young daughter. The nose ran in this family.
“Ah, Sue, I can’t see the beautiful flowers anymore. Just a blur of colors, with those silly bouncing bubbles.” Helena sighed.
“I know, Mom.” Sue held her mom tight.
Helena came daily to smell the flowers until her death three years later.