Once upon a time, I told the tale of my introduction to Flora Bella de Lalique. It's only a few days shy of two years since I first related my story, yet it seems to me as though its main character has been a part of my mythical landscape for decades. The love I bear for Flora Bella -- paired with my dependence upon its ability to neutralize all manner of the blues -- has led to a dangerous sort of complacency: Run out of Flora Bella? Impossible! There's PLENTY!
I admit I've been extravagant -- encouraged, to be sure, by my naive belief that 100 ml. is a practically inexhaustible amount of perfume. I've lost count of the number of decants I've shared with friends, not to mention the many "extra" spritzes I've applied to my own self with the blithe justification that "there's tons of it left!"
But there isn't. The level of perfume in the bottle declares an unavoidable truth. And what cost me an almost unthinkable $28 on Amazon two years ago now (due to discontinuation and dwindling supplies) commands a good deal more.
How does perfume become personified in our minds? From the very first, I have envisioned Flora Bella as a naiad: fluid, fickle, evasive. I have privately referred to her as "the mermaid perfume" and worn her on vulnerable days when I wished to absorb some measure of her alien, Aquarian untouchability. The sea-change seems to occur as readily as that which I undergo with Jolie Madame (tough-talking career gal in ten seconds flat!) or Arabie (silent temple-keeper treading the labyrinth) or Puredistance Antonia (sacred kore joyfully gathering flowers for Persephone). This cannot just be my imagination. Whether by chance or by design, these spirits must reside in the perfume.
And like the vættir of old, their motives often lie beyond mortal understanding.
In the best tradition of the selkie, Flora Bella will consent to remain in my company only up to a point. Eventually she must return to the sea; we both know it. One day soon, to the tune of my tear-stricken, utterly futile pleading, she will up and vanish... the path of her departure erased by the remorseless surf.
Farewell, sea-creature rich and strange.