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In the face
Everyone knows those days when you literally can't help but reminisce. You start thinking about something, fantasizing back, and suddenly you're spellbound and captivated because of your resume. This way of looking at yourself quickly becomes reflexive, when you go so far as to ask yourself, what if? What if I had been in that situation then, with my current understanding?
And so, as I read, listen to, and most importantly smell Dior Addict, I inevitably think back to 2010.
I was just 20 at the time and was doing my community service in the emergency department of a hospital. This was exceedingly exciting. The range of cases was enormous and I saw it as suitable preparation for my upcoming medical studies. My main job was to receive people from the ambulance, help them onto a stretcher and push them into the treatment area. Of course, the newly arriving patients had to be entered into the hospital system so that documentation, diagnoses, etc. could be recorded. This job, of course, is not done by community service workers, but by experienced nurses. In my case, there was one particularly capable and exceptional woman. She was perhaps the same age as my mother and extremely attentive, sensitive, witty and empathetic. We completed many services together and always got to talk at great length.
She had a daughter who was about my age and was doing a year abroad in Ireland at the time. So she was relatively far away. In retrospect, I think I may have been a sort of communicative substitute for her child, who was contactable but still somehow unreachable. She told me a lot about her and I loved listening. She drew a picture that let me participate very authentically in her mother-daughter relationship. Not only the beautiful sides, but also problems, concerns, worries and fears she shared with me. For example, she told me that her daughter cries a lot at the moment and is very unhappy. The host family does not accept her as she expected. This was sad and I felt very sorry. The situation in Ireland became more and more drastic, so that her daughter broke off the year abroad after two months and returned to Germany.
Probably her mother told her as much about me as she told me about her. And so one warm April day she came to pick up her mother from duty at the hospital. I was there too, knowing she was coming and looking forward, excited. I hadn't seen a picture of her before, but when she faced me, I pictured her exactly the same. But one detail was different from my imagination; she was even more beautiful. She wore a beige trench coat and looked very smart, grown up and yet exceedingly cute at the age of 19. I was enchanted from that point on.
From her mother's stories, I knew there was someone else besides me who longed for her return, her boyfriend.
I don't remember exactly what day of the week we first came face to face, but the Saturday after that I was partying with friends at a club. And on the way to the bar, she ran into me. We talked for what felt like an eternity until her friends wanted to go home. We exchanged numbers and texted half the night. We dated and if not on the first date, at least on the second, I kissed her. She returned the kiss and since then it has probably been one of, if not THE most memorable in my life so far. Afterwards she said that unfortunately it was not possible and I apologized.
After a short radio silence we wrote again. I guess she couldn't do without me any more than I could do without her. We met again and kissed. I knew she had a boyfriend and everything seemed kind of hopeless, but we were so young and it was summer. She returned every kiss, yet regretted it anew every time shortly after. My (unspoken) wish that she break up with her then partner remained unfulfilled to this day.
We met again and again, until it was no longer possible. I could not do it anymore, when I wanted it all the more.
I wrote her a farewell letter and bought her the fragrance she wore every time since we first met, Dior Addict.
As the name of the fragrance indicates, I too was addicted to it. One that would catapult me to the highest heights in a frenzy, only to have me sink into the deepest blue of the sea just moments later. It's a scent that revealed life to me in its fullest when I was in my twenties. Every time I smelled it, I felt safe, although I knew that this feeling would be short-lived. It exuded dignity and calm where often there was only uncertainty and naivety. I associate this scent with a deep intimacy and closeness. One that was still so often on my nose at home and alone. I loved it and yet it deceived me and yet again made me deeply sad. It is a scent that triggers memories of beauty and vulnerability. That "Queen of the Night" dominates the heart accord is as consequential as it is fatefully ironic. I don't know if there is still this one bottle in a mirrored cabinet not far from me. If so, then I know that something will always remain. And somehow that is a beautiful thought.