"You do know that this is the men's perfume? I'll be happy to show you the women's perfumes. Do you already know the new V..."
("I know one thing above all else right now: that my bias towards employees of a certain perfumery chain is unfortunately justified," she would have liked to reply or preach a sermon about how unprofessional and sales-promoting it can be to forbid non-men to buy products whose marketing has chosen men as a target group, but instead she escapes with a polite) "Yes, thank you. I'd like to test what's changed with the new version here, apart from the bottle."
The bottle is still pretty to look at, still reminiscent of studs from "Rockstud" bags and shoes, exclusive, stylish - and now with a lid and a studded neck ruff reminiscent of S&M games, which it didn't need. For a moment, she wonders if Valentino Garavani "the one and only" also secretly laughed at it, if he ever got to see the design at all.
Tfft tfft. One spray on wrist, one on paper. Just in case this "Uomo" is no longer himself, she doesn't want to regret her daring.
It doesn't take more than Tfft tfft for the little time travel then.
It's October 2020 and Tshajbukoshka gets a call. Whether she would like to come. Signor Il Herzensbrechers best friend has exhibited all her works at home and made a small vernissage out of it, for a select circle, at most five people may admire it today. Tshajbukoshka calculates: Malena and her boyfriend, as well as her best friend, then there would be Signor - and she would be the fifth person. She would not let this opportunity pass her by! Faster she had never grabbed the most expensive bottle of Primitivo from the cupboard into the bag, from the "other", Mario, Valentino, and redone the lipstick. She hears him before she sees him, and she's out of her mind like a 14-year-old in 2010 before Justin Bieber's concert. That voice, deep, grown-up, louder than a vacuum cleaner with a V8 engine and just brimming with confidence. In her mind's eye, she sees him gesticulating, throwing things around, and every now and then straightening his curls with a (to Tshajbukoshka's attentive eyes, not) well (enough) disguised backward head movement. His presence is literally palpable, you'd almost think the bass of his voice vibrates the floor, especially when he rolls the 'R' extended. It's not easy to escape the charm of the Italian remake of James Dean, not even when you're straining to listen to him ponder, in Italian of course, the herbs on his balcony.
"Signorina, I smoked today," he confesses meekly, as he looks at her with furrowed brows, pouting and turning his cheek. She doesn't smell any of it. He smells as he always looks: scrumptious, mysterious, special, forbiddingly handsome.
"You've had a bit to drink, though, so I'll be driving today." - "Really? Be meravigliosa! I thought you were mad." (- How could I possibly be mad. I probably wouldn't even be if I woke up in the morning and you told me you just stole half my lungs and liver) She laughs. The evening is excellent, the artwork on display impressive - and yet, in a few months after this day, Tshajbukoshka will be asked only to remember him, what he looked like, what he said, what he did - the Italian tidbit who lets himself be carried into his own car, drunk as a skunk, only to protest loudly because he still has to hold the driver's door open for his signorina and apologize to his car for not driving himself. Strapped into the back seat, he performs his renditions of Andrea Bocelli, Il Volo, and Random with a fervor that could suggest ten opera singers.
At some point, it goes quiet. The singing has died down. Tshajbukoshka opens her window and adjusts the rearview mirror to see him in it, sleeping peacefully with her stuffed animal in his arms, his curls in his forehead. ("Cute!")
Once home, she gets him just awake enough to move all the way to the bed, propped up by her. In full gear. The smell of his leather jacket stays there until the next morning, though Tshajbukoshka manages with difficulty to get him rid of it (and his shoes). So that's why people in horror movies never pick kidnap victims a head taller and more than thirty pounds heavier than themselves.
An exhausted Tshajbukoshka throws herself on the bed after a wonderful evening.
"How do you actually know it's love?"
- "When it smells like home on his temple, you don't know it, you feel it."
That Valentino, it's just him.
A phrase that fits Tshajbukoshka, Signor Il heartbreaker and Valentino alike: "I'm a year older a year later, but apart from appearance I haven't changed, at least that's how I feel - and those who know me know and gladly confirm it."
Comment from my friend: "You always smell so delicious, I'd become a cannibal for you."
Another friend: "You sure you're not a lesbian? Somehow it emphasizes your masculine streak."
Her friend: "Can I have a go? I like this one, I hope it looks good on me."