Her Jewelry Box

THE Disappearance.

I have a purple jewelry box of hers now. Inside is lined with felt. Contents strewn with hair pins, mismatched earrings and a tiny Christmas ornament. Inside is a photo of me holding my third baby boy. I also found an old watch and gaudy costume bracelets.

The box smells like my mother’s hair and her shoulders when she hugged you close. Not her perfume or lotion or shampoo–but the scent a person becomes–their signature, chemical make-up laced with tissues and roots.

I try not to open the box. It takes effort because I desperately want to inhale the mother I miss. But I’m afraid to unlatch too often, for I know the scent–now more like an elixir or magic potion–I know it will fade in time. And one day I will open it and discover all of her dissolved.