Nikki's Perfume Journal Entry SCENT OF HOURS November 22, 1978 Definition: Chypres Chypres is a highly original group that is based on contrasts between bergamot-type top notes and mossy base notes. Chypres perfumes tend to be strong, spicy, and powdery. This perfume group was named after the famous perfume from Cyprus of Roman times. It is used primarily for women, and is appropriate for both day and evening wear, especially during winter. I told the insurance company I was sleeping when the house blew up. In actual fact, the cold woke me. I stood at the top of the stairs that led to my basement at three a.m. on a morning in late winter, daring myself to go down and find out why the furnace was not working. Puffs of dust-scented air wafted around my ankles. The narrow wooden steps disappeared into yawning darkness, and even when I turned on the light, it wasn't particularly inviting. I hate basementsspiders and water bugs and the possibility of creepy, supernatural things lurking. Ammie, Come Home scared the holy hell out of me when I was seven, and I've hated basements ever since. Standing there with my arms crossed over my breasts, frozen in every sense of the word, I thought, This was so not in my script. I made a bargain, to love, honor, and cook all the meals, while he promised to love, honor, and do things like go down into the basement in the middle of the night. This was not strictly gender role stuffI was a good cook and I liked it. Daniel was not the slightest bit afraid of ghosts or spiders. Cold air swirled around my ankles. I couldn't move. Frozen, just as I'd been for the past seven months. A vivid picture of the house blowing up in a blaze of noise and fire flashed over my imagination (And wouldn't they all be sorry then!). Experimentally, I stuck my head into the stairwell and took a long, deep sniff. No smell of sulfur, and I have a very good nose. Of course, it wasn't exactly an airtight basement. I shuffled forward three inches. Halted. A shuddering hitch caught in my throat. I realized that I could not do it. Could not physically force myself to go down into that creepy, cold, spidery cellar and then get down on my hands and knees and look for a pilot light, and maybe even have to put my hands into a place where there were spiderwebs. No. Way. In the morning, I'd call someone to check it out. For now, I'd just have a cup of tea and play with my computer. Instantly, my heart stopped fluttering. Decision made. I stepped crisply back from the yawning mouth of doom and closed the door. From the linen cabinet by the downstairs bathroom, I took a blanket that smelled of the lavender stalks that I tuck into all the drawers and closets. The pale purple scent eased my tension as I carried the blanket into my study, where the computer was breathing steadily, softly, its lights blinking comfortingly in the darkness. I turned on the small, Art Deco lamp I'd found on eBay and settled into my chair, blanket around my shoulders, and opened a novel I'd checked out of the library. At least some things were reliable. Unlike the furnace. Which exploded exactly one hour later with a noise you can't even imagine. Obviously, I lived. The house, on the other hand, did not fare quite so well. My mother used to say, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." I was pretty sure I was ready after blowing up the house, but no Mary Poppins of the over-forty set magically appeared to rescue me. Instead, I sat for six more days at the Motel 6, drowning my sorrows in pints of Dove chocolate raspberry ice cream while I played the television for company and pretended I wSamuel, Barbara is the author of 'Madame Mirabou's School of Love ', published 2006 under ISBN 9780345469144 and ISBN 0345469143.