Ghost Sigh

By Terry Parker

January 7, 2019

Ghost Sigh

I survey the elegant glass skyline crowded on the tray: the fine-boned Chanel, curvy Burberry, sleek Cabochard. The bottles display various levels of fragrant amber liquid, belying their owner’s favor. Each has its unique cap or stopper, competing like fancy hats at the Derby.

I spot the simple brown bottle behind the cluster of bright glass. I finger its contours. It was the only cologne I kept after the funeral. The navy and sepia label has an oval picture of a sailboat with the words Chesapeake Bay Spyce curved around it. I turn the bottle over and run my thumb across the map relief of the Bay on the back. A distinctive fragrance, I never smelled it on anyone but David.

I remove the small pewter cap with the crab on it and breathe in, warm and familiar. The bayberry notes conjure small visions: a starchy collar with loosened tie, wide grin, laughing at his own joke, Adam’s apple under a creeping five o’clock shadow. Pieces of a memory.

The bottle is nearly empty. Recklessly, I spray a bit of the remaining cologne on the back of my hand and replace the bottle behind the others. Now each casual wave brings a ghost sigh of solace and longing.

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