Sand and Sable was cheap perfume my mother wore. It came in
a foggy white bottle kept firmly in her purse
for those emergencies and liquid encounters at the grocery store.
Ladies with purple tinted hair, I found, often had that smell
doused thickly between their grey memories and the church pews where
they left it lingering. I always thought it bitter, the way
it smeared on my cheek and followed her fingers into my hair. But I found myself
breathing it in when she was gone. Once at church she wandered from her
seat at the piano bench, and I swore if I were my little button-nosed
cat I could have found her hiding place and not ran all over church crying
that she had left me.
But she was funny like that, never forgetting to bring it along. And it’s funny
what the sterile smell of white walls and a dripping, dripping of the IV
can bring and almost make one forget. And when he came in and told me it
was time, I walked over and kissing behind her ear, found it had tucked itself
neatly there.

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Angela M. Ogburn is a transplant from south Georgia now living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She works in higher education and has publications in academia as well as literary anthologies.

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