“Honestly, Ashley? A spring bouquet?”
“That is what I said.”
“You want me to go and make a spring bouquet perfume.”
I wandered lonely as a cloud, that floats on high o’er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils…
“My dear Shelley, someone your age should not be having trouble with her hearing.” A client solicitous is a client sarcastic.
“My dear Ashley, someone your age should not be overlooking incipient dementia. Why do you
wish me to go and work on a spring bouquet perfume?”
“Think of it as an adventure, Shelley.”
“May I point out that this past year has been nothing but adventures? Five back-to-back new perfumes in the past seven months, stretched over what, four themes? Five, if one acknowledges theElizabethan England of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Followed by the writing and publishing of a new book? What I need is a few weeks with nothing more demanding than my garden.”
“You should, of course, feel welcome to say ‘no’”.
The words carry a weight beyond their surface meaning. A complicated and inauspicious weight. The weight of those damned roses of Heliogabalus.
I reared back, far more alarmed by the thought of the time this would involve than by the thought of the expensive oils. There are very good reasons that the joys of the spring floral bouquet perfume have been pirated away from the adoring public. It is fraught with the complications of making the equivalent of twenty perfumes and then joining them together in such a way that doesn't turn into a muddy-smelling mess. It is also fraught with very expensive oils, much of which gets sacrificed to terrible mistakes.
“It shouldn't take you more than two weeks, three at the most. You’d probably figure it out even before you launch your book.”
“Ashley: no. I have an entire year’s worth of briefs to catch up on. I have no interest whatsoever in entertaining this idea. The entire thing sounds like a headache. I am not going to make a spring bouquet, or even a spring soliflore. I’m not taking on any new projects. No.”
My blending bench was covered with bottles, scent strips, beakers, and scattered notes. Having spent most of the past three cold, raining three weeks in my studio, I had built a warm fire to keep my fingers from stiffening. My mood was as bloody as my eyeballs.
I stagger from my studio with three variations on the spring bouquet theme in hand, take a mouthful of cognac and relish the sensation of it searing down my very empty gullet. Passing by the mirror, I glance at my haggard face and frowzy hair before settling on my comfy couch. I smell my variations,while looking out the window and I am happy, very happy.
Loosely transcribed from Pirate King by Laurie R. King