By Courtney Hill Gulbro

March 29, 2021


A wisp of perfume accompanied my mother. Like her, it was elegant and subtle. The fragrance softly followed her up the hall, her heels clicking, her skirt rustling. Late to somewhere.

She was known for being on her own time. Mama was late to her wedding and to just about every event thereafter. Books, birds, an ant trail in the yard—all captured her attention. She was never in a hurry.

Crystal perfume decanters graced my mother’s dresser. A rounded bottle with shapes of flowers cut into the glass. An angled pillar with a hint of art deco in the design. An oval atomizer with a golden pouch on top that delivered a spritz when squeezed. These are on my dresser now.

In my top drawer is her small sachet—chiffon, blue flowers on white, slightly yellowed with time. Tucked inside is a cotton square that holds her scent. I breathe in the essence that’s lingered forty years, in no hurry to leave.


Courtney Hill Gulbro writes memoir and personal essays after a career as a counselor and counselor educator. Her work has appeared in Nature Writing, Ponder Review, and others. 


Image by Adrianna Calvo courtesy of Pexels

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