She stirred the mix gently, watching it turn bright lime green. The rounded bottom of the test tube remained lightly coated with the oily liquid for a while, making the glass look green too. Rosalie brought the little vessel closer to her nostrils and took in the fragrance in a slow deep breath. It smelled like overripe plums, honey, vanilla and sunshine.
Delighted, she swabbed a tiny drop on her left wrist, where the pulse and warmth of her blood livened and intensified the scent. She smelled it again, very pleased, and put the little bottle down in the test tube holder, in the middle of a long row of tubes of every color imaginable: sunny yellow, periwinkle blue, deep violet rose, electric purple, all labeled properly, since Rosalie’s fastidious nature would not allow chaos in general, and especially in her perfumer’s lab.
She adjusted the round glasses on her nose and fixed a shiny strand of snow white hair that kept brushing her forehead.
Rosalie’s Perfumes had been her dream since she was a little girl and she had made that dream come true. Everything in her apothecary shop looked ageless and perfectly polished, like ancient urns displayed in a museum, no spec of dust anywhere, nothing more than was absolutely necessary, nothing but the best quality. Mahogany wood shelves, beveled glass display cases, colorful little bottles filled with dreamy fragrances and covered with glass toppers, decorative and sparkling like little gems.
What made the shop so popular was that she decided perfume needs to come in beautiful colors, neon greens and electric blues, so she only used clear glass and let the perfumes shine for themselves.
Rosalie had always been a beautiful woman, at least her husband liked to say so, but the most stunning of her features were her long thin hands. There was no softness in them, as one would expect in a slender, small boned woman like her. Rosalie’s hands were so expressive they could tell the entire story of her life at a glance. All nerves and strength, their slightest move revealed a flexible and powerful array of interconnected muscles and tendons dancing under her milky white skin in a way that was positively hypnotic. She didn’t wear any jewelry other than her wedding ring, and although she wouldn’t admit it, she didn’t want anything, no matter how beautiful, to shift focus away from the kinetic art piece her hands were performing, even in their most mundane activities.
The most interesting part was that neither she, nor her ever increasing customer base, realized that people didn’t come just to buy her perfumes, they also came to experience the extraordinary dance of her hands, when they lifted colorful glass toppers and waved paper strips to fade off the alcohol smell before offering fragrance samples. They watched them, mesmerized, as they moved glass ampoules and clear jars on the mahogany counter with surgical certainty, in striking minimalist contrast with the dark surface.
“Slow day,” she thought, rearranging a perfectly organized glass rack, dusting off imaginary particles and shining the blindingly polished silver handle on the antique cash register. Since the moment of her birth and during every waking moment of her life, her hands had never been still, moving in a continuous, fluid and harmonious dynamic, never tired, never unintentional.
She looked out in the street through the display window, absentmindedly following a person or another, a little kid with a balloon, tiny nervous dogs following their owners. Soft snow flakes started falling, fluffy like goose feathers.