As I got ready for a client this morning I noticed my face was a little dry. I reached into the cabinet and pulled out a plastic bottle of Oil of Olay and dabbed some on my chin, my cheeks, my forehead, my neck. And then I slipped back in time a little.
After my mom died I took over most of her belongings. It was too painful for her brother and my grandparents to take anything, so they pawned it all off on me, citing that I would be honored to have these little reminders of her everyday. I was sixteen and hadn't yet figured out how to say no to anyone, so I took most of it.
The clothes that didn't fit me I convinced my grandmother to donate to a women's shelter in Los Angeles. I held on to pretty much everything else. Including her make-up and toiletries.
My mom loved Giorgio. But at some point she stopped buying it because the same scent seemed to come out of a little yellow striped can that stated, "If you like Giorgio, you'll love...". Since the can wasn't the real thing (and the smell of it kind of made me sick), I had no problem tossing it into the trash.
She had a plastic bottle of Jafra body lotion, which I used up within the first few months. I didn't relate the smell to just my mom since I've always used my mom's lotion. It was hardly like using my mom's lotion at all.
And then she had a glass bottle of Oil of Olay. Pink glass. Black label. I can hear the sound of the black plastic cap being screwed off the glass top. I can smell the Original scent of creme. I can feel the moisture being locked into my skin after my morning shower.
I don't remember when I actually finished that bottle, because I kept it for quite some time after I emptied it into my pores. It might have been a few months, it might have been a few years. I'm sure I used it long after the expiration date had passed, though, because I remember at one point seeing 04/92 stamped on the bottle. Seeing the date now reminds me of just how long ago that really was.
For a long time I remembered how much I missed my mom, and a moment like this morning where I was taken back to the scent of my mother's Oil of Olay might have sent me into a long list of why it's so horrible that my mom was taken away from me so long ago. But when that moment this morning happened, I simply smiled. I remembered my mom. And I thanked her for my youthful skin. I doubt I would have started using the Olay at age 16 had it not been for her.
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