All afternoon she had been unable to get last August off her mind.
She had a case in hand, a complex contract-heavy one at that, but couldn’t afford it the attention it demanded.
The sensation of one spoonful of unsweet jam had brought back last summer and she felt the need to be at home with her memories.
Setting out for the journey, walking through the courtyard near the chapel, she noticed this year’s first buds.
In a matter of just a few weeks the roses would be in bloom again.
On The Tube, the change in weather had caught some people off guard and they laboured sweatily under winter coats.
She, forever with a change of clothes in the office, on account of the hours she worked, was light and airy in linen.
She wore too a spritz of the citrus cologne he always had with him, but knew it would not be around for long, that its scent would disappear as quickly as he had done from her life.
Turning the key in the lock of the front door they had painted crimson together, she knew there was only one place in the house she wanted to be.
Entering, her home seemed to give a warm and gentle sigh to acknowledge her return.
She sweeps through the silent, slightly sweet almost salty air and to the dressing room that was to be her luxury upstairs.
The majority of the rose petals they harvested were used to make a tincture, but some they kept behind.
A bunch, all dried out, stands in a white vase on a travelling chest of drawers beneath an old poster for a French hat maker.
They smell mainly of softly perfumed dust, the residues of the scented candles and incense sticks that she burns.
She opens the top drawer and an entirely different aroma emerges.
Roses. The varieties ‘Guinée’ and ‘Handel’, she recalls.
They placed petals between plain lining paper and allowed them to dry out in situ. A sweetly smelling reminder of their summer, that would they hoped imprint itself on her all year long through the scent it lent her clothes.
But after the rupture, the plan had come to nothing, the only thing she had ever kept here were the photocopies.
You see, they took only digital photographs and when the disk corrupted, nothing, nothing from that time could be salvaged save for the few images she had already printed off.
Though digitally perfect, she noticed soon enough they were fading prematurely.
That he was too quickly becoming a part of her history.
So she tried to save what she could and copied the fading colour photos over and over, shoring what she could of the past against future storms.
And here she is now, in a Tempest of remembrance.
Surrounded by gusts of fallen rose petals and sheaves of paper destined, like her memories, to desiccate.
Stella by Stella McCartney is a strangely comforting contradiction of the antique and contemporary in fragrance.
In essence this is a classic rose perfume, captured with all the digital perfection that modern technique can muster.
But then something else happens, the scent seems intentionally decayed and aged into a sepia photograph of the flower, rescued from a dusty hiding place.
Before this, the opening is a momentary mandarin that yields almost before it has began to the floral core.
True, that rose heart does have a hint of what others have described as a ‘pot pouri’ presence, perhaps on the account of a rather large part of it that is peony.
This is no dewy, fresh, straight from the garden stem, the sensation is more restrained and if not melancholic then reflective.
The amber lends the structure a somewhat fixed and linear quality, like memories laid down to be remembered.
After that first unsettling ageing, little changes, as though a certain amount of dilapidation and no more will be tolerated.
Stella is a perfume that may deceive and be dismissed as being overly simplistic.
Yet the charm here lies in the intelligence and thought with which a simple concept is handled with a little complexity.
This is a slight, elegant, floral momento of the recent past.
The rose is perhaps the easiest of all flowers for gentleman of distinction to wear, this example is no exception.
The Perfumed Dandy.