Fragrance of Memory

COURTESY Fatima Ahmed AlMehairbi

A few years after my grandmother passed away, I asked my father if I could see some of her belongings stored in his office. He gave me the key, instructing me not to break or misplace anything. When I looked under his desk I was stunned to see that he kept heaps of her bags, clothes, and pieces of fabric, etc. Amid my grandmother’s personal possessions, I found this tin box filled with her favorite perfume bottles.

My mother frequently asks my father to throw away or donate these belongings, because we do not need them anymore, but he always refuses. He is the youngest of his siblings and was very attached to his mother. Of all her sons, my father cares the most about holding on to her things. He even kept her car, which no longer works! My mother insists that we sell it, but my father says the car still smells like her and he does not want to let go of that. I feel the same way about this box containing her perfume bottles. When I open it I vividly remember my grandmother. Some of the bottles are broken or not closed properly, so perfume has leaked into the bottom of the container. The fragrance makes my memory of her even stronger.

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