Parenting & Other Life Stories

A small girl

The following piece of non-fiction is another short excerpt from the memoirs I wrote a few years ago during NaNoWriMo. I have provided a name for the purpose of posting today, “A Small Girl.” Feedback is welcome in the comment section below.

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A small girl

The little 43 millilitre bottle with its muted pink hue is about 32 years old. It seems somewhat amazing that the glass hasn’t cracked or broke. Even the round pink lid is still whole. The two pieces together hold captive the remaining “whisper soft cologne” locking in that subdued floral smell that initially calls to mind a bouquet of red roses.

I haven’t retained a lot of items from that time in my life, but this small bottle of childhood perfume is still my favourite. The front of the bottle has fourteen blue and white flowers floating in the air around a small girl. The girl herself has a hat made from the head of a hot pink flower and the remnants of a green stem are positioned at the top like a pompom. Her dress flares out like fuchsia and azure petals, and she stands shyly on a tiny lily pad that floats on rippling blue water.

The image itself is slightly raised and feels rough under my fingertips. The words Little Blossom curve across the bottom of the bottle. The oval glass cylinder itself brings to mind an image of me as the tiny five year old girl who adored this gift. A girl who wore velvet magenta track pants with a large navy stripe across the zippered sweater. A girl whose brown hair hung down her back to the top of her bum with the sides pulled back to show her round face. The healthy glow on her face is peppered with a few freckles that highlight the bridge of her nose. Her green eyes sparkle with a mischievous enjoyment. Her smile is emphasized by the bright bubble-gum pink lipstick that she applied. A closer inspection reveals hints of other make-up painted on in swipes and blotches: powdered cheeks and painted eyes.

The counter is just out of sight, and it is littered with a small make-up kit and make-up. The Little Blossom bottle sits on the creamed coloured counter amid the debris. This image of me as a tiny cosmetician is actually a memory captured in a photograph taken from the end of the hallway. It is a picture that I saw at some point that helped call to mind the details that aren’t captured in the picture itself. Details like the step stool I used to see in the mirror, and that feeling of elation that came from participating in a big girl activity, in this case the application of my own make-up. It was a feeling that was alive in my whole person and radiated out in smiles, prancing, and striking a pose for the camera. It also brought to mind my love for Avon. The bottle of perfume marks all this as an Avon Canada inspired moment. The Avon catalogue had the coolest trinkets and cutest objects. To have my very own Avon products made me feel like someone was listening and that I was important…

By Shari Marshall – Posted in 2019

One thought on “A small girl

  1. Vivid Shari, and true to your style of putting your reader right there with you. This one, is a rich mental image of a very young girl stepping up the next exciting stage of life. I watched my own daughter trek this path, but she brought her own personality and values to the experience. Your description took me back to that observation and rang true. Very nicely done.

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