I'm relatively new to my neighborhood. Moved here almost four years ago, but still haven't had the opportunity to connect with many neighbors. Funny, that--"many"--the ones I know by name I could count and sort of need both hands. A few more I know by sight, but I'm pretty sure only one of them realizes I am a neighbor and not a passing through crazy when I smile and wave.
In my last neighborhood, which was urban and rather dense, I could walk around the block and tell you the names of the residents of every house and multi-flat. So you see, the current experience is...different.
All of which is a prelude to what I witnessed today. A moving truck. Again. The third in the past year--the horrible downturn in the real estate market is starting to correct itself, I guess. The house across the street from us actually sat empty for a year. The one next to that on the left was half-occupied, but grown adult children who spent most of their time somewhere else. The house to the right has been lived in, but I never knew by whom.
Until today, and a moving truck that pulled in nice and early.
Just the sight of a truck hauling out has the potential me a little verklempt...lots of moves in my childhood, plus an overactive metaphorical mind. But with moving trucks every few months, and an ambulance that makes regular thrice weekly visits to a house down the street for some sort of transport run--yeah, I get all cycle of life. A bit lonely, and feeling badly for those who will move in, because there no longer is a Welcome Wagon person that comes and greets you like they did when I was a kid.
All of that is prelude. The story is in a single vision. In what happened later.
It's rainy and grey and autumn is descending today with a relenting drumbeat that we should prepare, prepare, prepare for winter. The moving guys start collapsing the loading ramp, clearly preparing the truck for departure. Out walks a woman, of certain age, probably, but rather indeterminate just where in the range. Dark coat and scarf about her head, both clearly protecting her against the elements, and making her visage anything but clear. You can only draw conclusions by her gait. And her gait seems almost sprightly at first, from the rear...she walks up to the truck, gestures to the guys...turns toward the house...and suddenly I see a curve in the spine, a catch in the step. She turns slowly back to the truck, engages in conversation again. I watch in amazement as she shape-shifts from a capable physical appearance to a more frail one. And it continues. Then, in an unpredictable cap to it all, she waves good bye to the car that I know belongs (belonged?) to the house, and gets in the truck cab with the guys. All pull away.
She gets in, and leaves with her belongings, headed to wherever. End of chapter here, however long it was. Methinks much longer than four years, but I'll never know.
I am left yet again with my brain wrapping itself around that image. Wondering how I will be her, when I am her.
When it comes to perfume, my brain wraps and wanders and finds itself in the land of vintage perfumes and reformulations. And how while on the one hand, I still feel like the new kid on the block when it comes to being a Perfume Person, I realize I have already been the welcome wagon, as it were, to others who are earlier on the trail than I. I'm not as young nor as inexperienced as I think I am, it seems. That woman getting on the truck? For a moment, she became the current Grand Dame Perfumes, about to move on, no longer accessible. Should I be glad I never really got to know some of those old perfumes? Or more current ones who will obviously need to change to continue to stay in the neighborhood?
I can't really change anything. I'm glad that I got some backstory, glad I always stayed friendly, even if I couldn't spend any meaningful time with them. I did get to know a couple, and whether or not I liked them, they will always inform how I understand the future.
That woman stayed in the cold grey drizzle, and made sure everything was okay. Then, rather than turning her back, she stepped up into that big cab and helped drive it away.
She was both old and young.
She was someone.
If you've ever seen Bruce Conner's short film "The White Rose," all moody and b&w and Miles as the soundtrack and a moving truck and an artist's major work being cleared out and an empty space left behind--that's how I'm feeling. I am not yet sure how to scent it. Others would, I think, say Mitsouko, or Apres L'Ondee, but to me Mitsouko is reconciliation, and Apres L'Ondee is smiling while you let go.
Oh. Maybe those are good scents. But they didn't feel right until I gave them words. I'm still going to think on that.