Mention perfume to me and one of the images that will spring to my mind is my (late) Grandma from the father’s side. She is one classy lady with a taste for the finer things in life. She has a huge perfume collection (and adores scents from Dior), collected jewelry (gemstones), tended a garden full of (scented) tropical flowers and only wore tailored clothes. She has perfectly maintained curly white-grey hair, always seen wearing a muted pink lipstick and smells heavenly even if she only stays at home.
Fancy. I know. More so, now that I can comprehend a bit of how fabulous she and her life was.
I can recall my childhood days with her walking around the living room carefully arranging freshly cut flowers on the vase. She normally uses Sampaguita (Jasmine) as altar flowers. But for home decorating, her flower of choice was locally known as Rosal (or a Gardenia).
I loved that it looks and smells lovely. The scent alone reminds me of her.
But my Grandma is already in another place now, her tailored clothes are nowhere to be found, the gemstones are already lost, the garden which she lovingly tended has grown tangled and unruly, her regal home is now a a empty shell of beauty it once was. Soon enough, the house was sold, along with the fragrant garden. The said house holds a lot of my childhood memories as I grew up there with my cousins before we move to Manila to go schooling, I sometimes still think about it, I also miss my grandma, from the soft touch of her wrinkled skin and her faint lingering smell of perfume.
I was only fifteen when she went away. Was given a small jade pendant (she once wore, is all I have) to remember her by.
If only I have the brains then to save cuttings of her beloved plants, to be replanted to pots. Even only her signature flower the Rosal.
So, I searched for a Rosal. I asked around, and came up empty. After months of asking. I was about to give up.
I was resigned to the fact that the memory and the scent is lost and I should just go sniffing bottles of her (used to be) perfume/s to remember her. Then Kei took me to the relocated Manila seedling bank, It is now on Quezon City circle.
There it was. A rather huge sized shrub with shiny dark green leaves.
A Rosal plant about to bud.
Without much thought we brought the plant along with a huge pot and soil. All the thought of gross-ness went out the window as we took turns carrying the huge and heavy potted plant back home. Kei took good care of it and as of now it has many buds ready to bloom anytime soon. We named it “Groot” from the Guardians of the Galaxy.
We got a flowering plant to remember her by, I think my Grandma would smile at the idea.
I am excited to see it bloom and also get Kei to smell what the rosal smells like.
It smells like the scent of remembrance to me.
For that I am grateful.