Trigger warning: Loss of loved ones.
She stretched out her hand and ran it over the pillow next to her. It was cold and smooth, memory foam with no memory. It even smelled cold now. Padding from the silent bedroom and into the empty living room, the scent that greeted her made her stop in her tracks. Sometime in the night, the automatic plug-in air freshener must have switched over to a new cartridge and this one drew tears to her eyes.
The creamy, custardy scent filled her nostrils and the synapses in her brain fired, memories pulled to the forefront. Memories of Thanksgivings and Christmases, memories of him cooking and baking and their house filled with heaven for the tongue. His cooking ushered in warmth and laughter and family and fellowship and love. But it was the scent that clung to him that she remembered the most – creamy and sweet, like caramel. He smelled like it for an entire day afterward. In fact, she had started asking him to wait to shower until the next night after cooking such a meal, because she loved him covered in that sweet scent. She would bury her face in his black hair and breathe it in when he held her, taste it on his lips when she kissed him. As they made love and reveled in each other, it came to cover her, too, and, in the morning, her skin smelled (and tasted, so he said) like butter cream.
And now…the living room – this empty room, this cold room, this decoration-less room that radiated alone – also radiated this scent. A scent that made her crumple to the floor as if the life had been stolen from her alone with her breath. Her home was dark, her life was dark, like a candle suddenly snuffed. With his dark hair and bright eyes and winsome smile, he had been her light, been the warmth of their home. And now he was gone.
Propped against the wall, she sobbed until she feared that, like Alice, she would float away in a sea of her own tears. But those limpid eyes had only one focus for their weeping. And it laid in the stately marble urn that stood upon the mantelpiece of a dark and cold fireplace.
Inspired by “Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair” as sung by Peter Hollens and Avi Kaplan