For years my boyfriend has fragranced his jeans with the bottle of Marc Jacob’s Daisy perfume that my mother gave me for Christmas in either 2009 or 2010. He does this after he takes a shower and I wonder if he’s actually showering or doing something else, with the water running, until he’s done and spritzes his pants. He comes out smelling like jasmine and violets.
I used to shower more than him but now I fear he’s showering more often than I am. This can be directly contributed to the cold, the dark, the unfriendly bathroom, depression. For the past year I couldn’t take a shower sober. I’d always bring a beer in with me, or have a glass of wine on the sink. I used to pride myself on being a cat person—both a person who prefers cats and a person who acts like a cat, an abhorrence to water, good at lounging. I want to be a dog person. I want to be better.
I’ve never really used the perfume but I did ask for it. It must have been in high school or during the years in college where I wanted to meet (impress) boys. I’m not sure if my scent would really sway things one way or the other. I wasn’t wearing Daisy the night I met my boyfriend, but more likely, the smell of merlot on my breath and a cloud of cigarette smoke surrounding me. This was not long after I had cut off my hair, buzzed it all on the front porch, and was now trying to grow it out. You might say I sported a bowl cut.
Now my hair is the longest it has ever been and I never cut it, only my bangs, really short when I get drunk and get the urge to go to the bathroom and pull out the nail scissors and whack inches off. Twice a year I see my sister and sometimes when I see her she gives me a trim. And I still wear dirty clothes. That will probably never change. Do people really only wear something one time and then wash it? In any case I would never want my mother to know my routines.
He always leaves the cap off. I always put it back on. The cap is three rubbery white daisies perfectly curated. Their heads are gold. His head is, too. When I find a hair amongst my things I think I’ve struck gold, could sell it for money.
If we break up I am going to let him keep the bottle. It is his. The only time I touch it is when I put the cap back on. The fragrance suits him better. I’ve moved on to muskier, spicier scents, if anything at all. I’ll never exit the phase of preferring my own body’s odor to anything chemically invented. But it suits him.
I often think about what my boyfriend will do when the bottle empties. It was, to eighteen-year-old me, expensive. It was, to me now, something I would never go into a store to buy. It is, probably to the capitalist market, unavailable now. Passé. Or maybe it isn’t. Perhaps everyone’s boyfriends like to spray their jeans with Marc Jacobs’ Daisy. Perhaps that is the very reason Marc Jacobs produced it.
In truth, I desired Daisy because the women in the ads for it always looked so beautiful. They’d be half-naked in sheer underwear laying in fields of alfalfa or wheat. A rustic beauty that I wanted so badly as a teenager. It felt like escape. I never explain any of this to my boyfriend. He’s never asked why I have the bottle, or maybe I already told him. As if I have to explain why I would have a bottle of perfume, what would have caused me to ever feel the desire to pamper myself. I have let my eyebrow hairs grow longer than ever and my sister never fails to mention how they need to go. That is not the point though, the point is this afternoon while my boyfriend is away from home and I am feeling the most content, I go into the bathroom and grab the bottle and pour its yellow liquid down the sink.
jessie knoles‘ work has been on queen mob’s teahouse, green mountains review, the boiler journal, peach magazine, and cosmonaut’s avenue, among others. she lives in washington and is a poetry editor for Hobart.