The Perfume Diary, Week 2: Tom Ford’s Black Orchid

I wanted to make a dramatic entrance here by telling you about the events of the week: the record-setting blizzard and the woman who had a seizure in front of my house and the fact that I lost my job. But even though those things felt monumental at the time, even though I couldn’t wait to tell you, the fact is that within a few days the week became normal again, flatlined, the undisturbed surface of it at great odds with my inner anxiety. The blizzard imposed a certain silence that lasted long after the snow had melted, but I think you will know what I mean when I say that it wasn’t the good kind.

Working from home has its challenges, of course, even for an introvert. It has been especially hard transitioning to life in a new city without the social network I had in my previous home. Sometimes I don’t leave the house for days on end, and time seems no longer to matter — only the work does. Punctuations on the stillness are rare and, if I’m being honest, not all that monumental after all. But now that I’ve lost my income-generating gig, the stillness is more menacing than it’s ever been.

There’s a soothing softness to Black Orchid. It seems to calm my anxiety, which is something I truly need this week. But it can also be totally unpredictable. I keep forgetting I’m wearing it, and then I’ll be standing at a stoplight and it will sneak attack, revealing some element that I hadn’t really noticed before: the vanilla, the florals, the plum, or the spice. Something so spicy it makes my eyes water. You think you’ve got it figured out, but then it never smells the same twice.

I’m consumed with the question of how to achieve that sort of balance in my life: comforting and safe, but full of surprises. Periodic unemployment and desperation are mind-numbingly dull, unbecoming — they are the kind of hardship that don’t even make for good stories. It will take putting them behind me for once and for all to jumpstart my ever fainter pulse.