I was eleven years old, The Family and I were having lunch at Bennigans. I believe it was a Saturday. We were sitting in a booth. I was so young, shy, not even knowing that I still needed to “come into my own.” A very pretty waitress came over and took our drink order. She was wearing a green polo shirt and black slacks. Dad ordered for my sister and I (Pepsi!) The pretty waitress leaned down to take my menu. The scent of her perfume lingered, and I knew I had to have it.

I looked at Dad. “She smells nice! I like her perfume.”

Dad had a bewildered look on his face. One that I know now as a parent says he did not quite know what to say. “When she comes back, you should ask her what it is!”

I respond in a manner as if he just asked me to cut off all my hair. “I AM NOT DOING THAT!” (I told you I was shy.)

A few minutes later the waitress is back with a tray full of assorted beverages. As she lays each beverage on our designated coaster, Dad being Dad “Quick question, she says (of course he points to me) you smell nice and would like to know what perfume you are wearing.”

I was mortified. The pretty waitress, who in hindsight probably thought Dad was trying to flirt with her….with wife and kids in tow, gave a polite laugh. “Oh, thank you. It’s “Beautiful” by Estee Lauder. It just came out.”

Dad looks at me, “See, there ya go!”

I am still mortified, while the pretty waitress proceeds to take our food order.

As silly as it sounds, at that moment I told myself “When I grow up I am going to buy that perfume.”

Twenty plus years later I am now a single mom. I never forgot the waitress with the pretty perfume. I also realized that at this point I would be lucky enough to afford Cover Girl, much less Estee Lauder. I mean the waitress never told Dad how expensive it is. She probably was working that job just to pay for the damn perfume!

I knew it would be a waste for me to put that kind of money into a perfume. I will just stick to Walmart’s Calgon Body Spray (Which in all honesty is a great scent too.)

Ten years later. I am now married and have four children. One day my very gay BFF and I, Alphonso, were checking out the makeup counters at Macy’s. He apparently needed some new foundation. I could not believe how much he was willing to pay for MAC makeup, yet he did not want it to seem like he was wearing makeup. Ooooookay then. As he was chatting it up with the MAC girl, I wandered over to the Estee Lauder counter. There it was. “Beautiful.” I mean it had been so long I did not know if the perfume was discontinued or not. I picked the sample bottle up, gave it a light spray, and immediately I was taken back to Bennigans restaurant thirty years ago. I had to have it. Discreetly, I turn the bottle over to see the price. There was no price.

Alphonso finds me. He knows me so well, he already knew. “Forget it, Jen, you can’t afford it, and you have Gracie’s medical bills.”

As much as I wanted to punch him, Alphonso was right. There was just too much going on, and unless the perfume was 5.98 it just was not in the cards right now. One day though.

Years late, I have now upgraded to Bath & Body Works. I have my signature scent that I always get complimented on (A Thousand Wishes) and Santa may have brought me a new scent (Champagne) that Joe thought was AJ’s cologne.

These last few days, I have been “off.” I have a lot of good things going on. Four days into 2019 and things are good. Most things. One not so good thing. I feel I was betrayed in a way. I feel there was someone who I thought was a friend, who in the end proved they only care about themselves and not what is right. It has been messing with my head. People had warned me in the past about this person, are very own Christin being one of them, I just never listened. Now, well, now I know the truth. So I am dealing with feelings of anger, hurt, confusion, you name it I have all these emotions running inside of me. Unfortunately, I have allowed it to take over the good things too. Instead of celebrating the accomplishments and blessings, I focus on the negative. That’s just plain stupid. It’s okay, you guys can agree with me. I should know better than that, yet here we are.

I had errands to run today. For once, I did not mind. I just needed to be alone and clear my head. There was grocery shopping to be done, and I needed to find Gracie a new curling iron. After I dropped Vinnie off at work, I went to Ulta, also known as Gracie’s favorite store. In my experience, they are helpful, have a variety of choices, whether it is makeup or hair products.

With bags under my eyes, not a stitch of makeup on, hair that has not been washed in three days up in a messy bun, I walked in the door, not really caring that I looked like I have seen better days. Thankfully, the store was pretty empty. Perfect! My mission is to go find someone who has experience with long thick curly hair, because Gracie with the prettiest hair ever, wants to curl her already curly hair. See, it is enough to make you want to drink.

I am looking around, trying to see who is available, when right there to my left, right before my eyes, there was a single display of Estee Lauder’s “Beautiful” perfume. Between you and I, I may have gotten a bit emotional. Immediately I forget about the curling iron, pick up the sample bottle, give it light spray just as I did many years prior, and again, I was taken back to Bennigans with the pretty waitress.

I take a closer look. There were three sizes available. I grabbed the size that worked with my budget and threw it in my shopping bag, without any hesitation at all.

Another full circle moment for me. I could finally afford the perfume I have wanted since I was an eleven-year-old little girl sitting in a Bennigans restaurant.

And, when I handed the cashier Gracie’s curling iron and my perfume, I am not even kidding, at that moment, I felt “Beautiful.”




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