“I would rather have 3 minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special,” she wondered sitting at the widow of her fourth floor walk up. The street below was alight with people walking to work, bustling along on the sidewalk and she wished she were part of the parade, part of the river of humanity bustling along like corpuscles spurting through a huge body. She sat still, not moving except for her eyes back and forth, back and forth, trying to see if she knew anyone and could open the window and shout down a greeting. Her overstuffed chair was comfortable and her tabby cat contented purring away like a little motor of comfort.
She had once been a happy salesgirl at Bloomingdale’s working in hats, gloves and purses. She always met her sales goals and the manager would frequently give her a small bonus.She loved meeting new people and greeting old customers, helping them to pick out the proper purse for an occasion. She longed to hear of their plans for upcoming parties, events for the social season and wished, how she wished that she, too, would receive an invitation to attend. They spoke of lawn parties, cocktail parties, coming out events, small dinner parties filled with gaiety and fun. She could almost picture herself playing croquet, sipping iced tea on verandas and gossiping with all the ladies. She would deport herself well, be a lady and not flirt (too much) with the young men. But because of her lack of social status she would never be invited.
Her life was lonely and isolated. Her young working class girlfriends had married and moved on leaving her alone with just her cat and few books to keep her company. When deeply troubled she would read Emily Dickinson and loved reading “Black Amber” over and over. She even took a huge part of her paycheck to purchase a small bottle of Black Amber perfume oil and would rub a little on her wrists. Smelling the combination of vanilla and amber sent her into a state of rapture which last for many minutes. The bottle now had but a drop left in the bottom of the vile and she debated whether or not to use it. It would be the last. She thought a moment and reminded herself again, “I would rather have 3 minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special”. She put her fingers around the top of the bottle and opened it. The aroma floated around her like a cloud of perfection.