"Put it on,"  he said as he handed me a small bottle.  "Bernadette wears it.  It's fabulous!"
I was suspiciously curious.  The bottle was stained dark midnight blue with a gold cap that sat half way down it's length. There was a relief of two entwined snakes on it.

"I don't understand"  I said, "Why are you giving me a perfume that Bernadette wears?"

"Because I just can't get enough of it, and I certainly can't wear it!"  Bernadette was wearing it this last time in New York and every time I got in the limo, I would have to get right up next to her and smell her. It's just such a haunting, sensual scent and I wanted you to wear it too."

OK, I thought. Interesting. I love perfume.  I sprayed.  It was at once complex and light.  There was jasmine, rose, amber and musk.  I was just as he'd described - haunting and sensuous.

"I love it!" I mused as I leaned in and hugged him.  "Thank you!"

Bernadette says a woman should never tell another man the name of the scent she's wearing lest the man buy it for another lover.  Or worse yet, for his wife."  He laughed.

Niki St de Phalle.  It was her name. It was the parfume. It  became my only scent.

It was magical.  Men would stand near me in the elevator at work and ask me what the name of my perfume was.  "I can never tell,"  I would say with a wink as I slipped through the opened doors.

The weeks turned to years and my friend and I were as close to inseparable as two can be. We laughed, argued, he sang, I made music and we whiled away the hours sharing escapades and conspiring to be rich and possibly even famous in our own right.  We    thought that our lives should offer more but didn't actually try to figure out what.  At least I didn't try to figure it out.

One day he announced he was leaving and then he was gone.  Just out of my grasp he flew.  We stayed in touch for awhile and then life got in the way as it tends to do.  He busied himself with music and empire building, I  busied myself building a future failed marriage and a child.

I wore the perfume every day because it reminded me of him, then it just made me miss him and our past that was so carefree.  Then it made me sad that he was gone and I'd been forced to become a real adult. Then it just depressed me because, in my eyes, I was failing.

So I stopped.  I tucked the parfume in a basket under the sink and made believe I'd forgotten it.

Years passed and the universe granted me an audience.  "I wish I could see my friend, the one from long ago that made me laugh and allowed me to welcome the unexpected into my life.

So it did.

Last night as I waited in the lobby of his hotel I was nervous, giddy with excitement.  It had been 13 years maybe more since we'd seen each other.  He walked off the elevator and there he was, just as he'd left.  We smiled. We hugged.  We laughed.  We are both older now but time has been quite favorable to us both.

We went to a nearby restaurant and began to reminisce.  How is this one and that one? Do you still keep in touch with him or her?  What is she doing now?  Oh, he was always strange.  You didn't know he was gay?  Who's minding your dog?  Do you have pictures?

We laughed. It felt good. It felt just like it used to.

It was time to part again.  He was going on his way, I had to return to my life.  We hugged.  "I love you" he said.  "I love you too."  "You haven't changed."  I laughed.  "There's just more of me,"  I said.  The valet chuckled.

I drove home and went straight to the basket under my sink.  There it was. The cobalt blue bottle with the gold cap and the relief of two intertwined snakes.  I sprayed.  The scent had not changed.

The memories came flooding back.   It made me happy.  It reminded me that no matter what may be happening in my life and no matter how far away I may be from the real friends I hold dear, the love that we have in our hearts for each other just does not fade.

Thank you universe! Thank you for bringing such a happy part of my life back to me.  Thank you for reminding me forever and a day that my heart will hold a place for him that will not fade.  And through one scent, both complex and simple, not unlike our relationship -  I can bring his presence into mine and will know that even though he's just just out of my grasp he is never out of my heart.