Musketeers, duels, “all for one, one for all,” the Queen, the Duke, intrigues, noblemen and beautiful courtesans.
By the age of ten I’d read The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne couple of times and even tried writing my own prequel to one of the last two – that was how much I liked those books and in general that epoch. I couldn’t decide which character I liked more – dauntless d’Artagnan, genteel Athos or sophisticated Aramis (Porthos was a comic relief so I didn’t consider him), each one was attractive in his own way, and I kept having a change of heart after every chapter. Of the book.
In real life I was much more consistent with my feelings: he was my class-mate, he was handsome (an important characteristic for that age), smart and well-read (important characteristic for me, at any age). Despite these qualities he for some reason didn’t excel in formal studying. I did. He sat next to me in math and language classes. I liked him so I would secretly help him during tests. He accepted my help but that was the extent of our relationship.
I Love You
I wrote this note, scented it with my mom’s Diorella parfum (knowing how expensive and hard to get it was back then I feel a little bit bad now), wrapped it in cellophane (to save the aroma and to prevent a revealing transfer) and slipped it into his school bag.
It took him three years to respond to my feelings. He started the turning point conversation with a question about that note: “In the fourth grade somebody left me a scrap of paper… smelling very nice… Magie Noire or something like that… Was it you?..” – “It was Diorella…” The next five minutes we spent discussing ambergris and its role in perfumery – a safe territory we used to catch our breaths before returning to the awkward topic of our feelings.
Eight years ago or so, when I had a pinch of nostalgia, on one of my trips abroad I bought a bottle of Diorella from a duty-free shop. I tried it and didn’t like it at all. It was a disappointment, but around that time I bought a couple of new releases that I liked so I got over it quickly. Only several years (and couple of other bad experiences with online discounters) later I realized that the perfume in that duty-free bottle was off. Either it’d spent too long on a shelf under the display lights or something else had happened to it, but it smelled of a spoiled perfume.
During last year’s Christmas shopping I finally got to the store that carried classic Dior’s perfumes. Cautiously I sprayed Diorella first on a blotter and then on my wrist… It smelled so nice that I just couldn’t leave without it. That day I sniffed my wrist again and again and felt a great joy and happiness: not as much because the smell reminded me of anything in particular but because it smelled so close to what I remembered about the scent from my childhood.
I’m wearing it today and I think it’s beautiful.