by Lani Shaffer
(Pennsylvania )

The beginning of my junior year in high school changed everything. While I was in a summer relationship with a boy from my school, I met a girl through my best friend. This girl and I began talking often and soon became very close, but she lived far away and meeting her or anything real of her never seemed like an option.

A few weeks later my boyfriend of the time and I broke up. By that weekend this girl had come to meet me. I remember seeing her for the first time, the glow we both felt. We hugged and that’s when I really breathed her in, her smell, the smell that became my home for the next year. She and I spent that evening, night, and the next morning and afternoon together. Before her, I had been questioning myself, but that weekend proved everything to me. It had been hard for her to leave after that, we each took a piece of the other’s clothes. I got to keep her smell, her presence with me; even when she wasn’t. After she got home, all we did was talk to each other. Being apart was terrible. We became an official couple and things were perfect, until my parents stepped in. They forbade us to be together, ruining all our plans. They took everything from me and threatened her. But even after all that, we tiptoed around them and stayed together. For two months she would come and see me about every other week. But then things grew harder because of my parents and their threats to press charges so the visits stopped.

For Christmas she sent me gifts, which included one of her bottles of perfume. It was one of the greatest gifts she had sent me because after months of not seeing her other than on web-chats, her smell was amazing to have near me. Whenever I missed her too much or she and I were having issues I’d spray her perfume onto her clothes she left with me and I’d be so much calmer inside.
Seven months into our relationship things grew too hard for us to bear and we decided on an “open relationship”. I knew we weren’t going to fix things, but I still had to try, being the hopeless romantic I am. We kept up this poor excuse of a relationship for three more months, until my eighteenth birthday. The weekend after that we both traveled to New York to spend the weekend together. This would be the first time seeing each other in about 9 months. I spent that whole weekend in her arms, feeling her there, smelling her, everything felt amazing. But upon leaving that weekend I knew we were over for good. A few weeks later I rid myself of everything that was hers, that perfume bottle that once made everything okay, now just made me cry and tear myself apart. Ashley’s smell helped me to find my true self.

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