You see on that sad day she failed to make any public declaration of her despair, would not permit sugar sweet eulogies to eviscerate the general agony. She held and holds herself with dignity and finds herself in turn held in contempt by those who require outpourings of overdone emotion.
They should regard her now, trimming back nettles that have overgrown the grave where her husband lies. She visits him regularly but infrequently, scared, not of the nettles’ stings, which are sharp and sudden and suddenly gone, but of the lasting unbalmable burn of loss, as keenly felt now as when he died.
From their cellophane sheath she pulls forth flowers.
He adored chrysanthemums.
His father grew them in his garden and they reminded him of him.
She wishes it were otherwise, but they remind her only of death. His death.
Where she has unsettled the soil with her effort to hold back nature, the Earth gives forth a bitter scent of itself: of moss and old decaying wood. The smell mingles unhappily with the hue of hyacinths and roses, feeble concessions amongst the bouquet to future pleasures indefinitely postponed.
She has started to cry as she knew she would, as she always does.
Gathering together the effects of mourning she returns to the car. Here in salty slightly sweet air that holds gentle sandalwood in it she looks across at his resting place. Her tears continue to fall and rain starts from the heavens. A scent of solitary sorrow, Estee Lauder’s Private Collection is perfume of private grief and almost immeasurable melancholy.
It takes a green note and makes of it a chord of pure blue.
Marrying nettles and lawn grass with oak moss and earth to achieve a cool, reserved opening of remarkable detached intensity.
What follows is a wall of floral sound.
Most distinct within it the voice of the greenest flower: chrysanthemum. And whilst this is mellowed in time with roses and hyacinth and perhaps a little jasmine, one is never too far away from stalks and leaves and thorns. As though the scent senses that all might be about to topple over into melodrama, it seems quite suddenly to steady itself.
Well into dry down it dabs the tears from its eyes and composes a dignified departure of wood, spice and a little musk that feels like dust.