The bottle of Christian Dior “Poison” pefume sits silently under my sink. Periodically as I shift gels and brushes or lotions around I run across it. It is the gift my father gave me on my 15th birthday. One of the few things that physically reminds me of his presence in my life. I remember how great it was to have been reunited with him after six years of having left my home and extended family in Mexico to continue the education that was my birthright in the US.
For Mexicans a girl’s “Quinceanera” or fifteenth birthday is a big deal. It is her entrance into womanhood. The day is typically celebrated with a splendid and somewhat formal party. For me, it was a homecoming. It was celebrated by being reunited with my father. Along with that reunion came this gift. Th
at single gift of perfume has traveled with me across many states through many days and even decades.
Every time I run across it I carefully wipe the dust off the top, open it and smell that familiar scent. Somehow I have never truly owned that scent. It is not the typical smell for a teen but it was what he chose to give me.
The haunting scent sits within it’s dark container waiting to remind me of a relationship long gone. A relationship that once bought me to tears. It reminds me that my Dad loved me at some point. That he cared enough to bring me pears every Sunday and watch me dance and act while he struggled to keep his eyes open. It reminds me that in the short time we had he let me take the wheel of his car in a quiet street in Mexico City for my first driving lesson. It brings back his customary bear hug, his deep blue eyes and taylored suit.
There were many disappointments in our relationship. Failings on both sides. Time lost. His legacy however was a commitment to my education. It was his greatest gift to me along with a singuar bottle of “Poison” perfume.