I fell in love in Paris...like so many before me, and countless after me. I'm not sure where exactly in Paris; maybe a department store, maybe a little shop on a corner. My memory is fuzzy after so much time. All I know is, it was instant and I'd never be the same again.
My husband and I were on our way to dinner and had some time before our reservation, so we dropped in a few stores along the way. And there it was: a countertop filled with an elegant display of perfumes. It was the third fragrance I sniffed; the first was too fruity and the second, too floral. But the third smelled just right...of figs, but not freshly washed figs or a dessert fig. These figs were earthier, more primal.
I sprayed some on my wrists and left for dinner. For the rest of the night, I kept sniffing my arm, already addicted to the aroma. And later, as we walked under the Eiffel Tower, my husband took my hand, kissed it, then flipped my hand over to smell my wrist. You smell delicious and up to no good, he whispered in my ear. And what happened after that is none of your business.
The next morning was our last in Paris, and I could still smell a ghost trace of the perfume on my arms...we almost missed the plane because I insisted on stopping by the boutique on the way to the airport: I had to own that perfume.
Turns out I didn't have to rush - the perfume was, and still is, available stateside. The scent quickly became one of my favorites, edging out the mainstays on my bathroom counter. One by one, I gave the other perfumes away until my only my fig remained.
But it wasn't until months later, when a friend asked me what scent I was wearing, that I did any real research about the fragrance. "oh, I just call this my dirty fig perfume" I told her, after we both tried to figure out exactly was in the fragrance: figs, yes. But what else? It wasn't floral and it wasn't exactly woodsy. We were baffled. So we looked up the name of the perfume online and read the description from the company:
a fig tree, but the whole fig tree. the leaves, the roots, the dirt, the bark, the wind blowing through the leaves, the sun warming the air around it.
It was a favorite before, but it became legendary. I wear it all the time: when I'm feeling fierce, when I'm feeling vulnerable, when I'm happy, when I'm upset, when I'm on top of the world and when I need a lift.
As soon as I read the description, I knew why I loved the perfume so much. Who doesn't want to be loved entirely, from top to bottom...the parts you can see, but especially the parts you can't see? The invisible pieces that make you unique? To see every single part of who you, and jump up and down to celebrate it?
To experience life the way the perfumier once loved a particular fig tree. Completely...from top to bottom, hugely and without apology. That's my goal, and my dream for you.
And if no one else tells you this, I want you to know: I love you like a fig tree.