My brother was fifteen; I was seventeen, our first time in Greece.
In the white villa we lounged among the sheets; the scent of eucalyptus in the afternoon outside:
sun flickering the walls like lizards.
I had got some perfume samples, just before we left England, of a bewilderingly green and strange men’s scent, with the sharp, verdant smell of green beans and bitter violet leaves, and it seemed to us at the time unwearable. Fascinating, and addictive, but unwearable.
Instead, we used the vials as cooling agents in that searing heat, flicked them at sheets and the walls, a beautiful, aromatic green that intensified the sun baked brush outside.
Quite obscure now but still available, I didn’t smell this scent, then, for twenty years until my grandfather’s funeral, when my cousin Dominic, who was sitting in the pew in front, and who I hadn’t see in decades (our sides of the family are estranged), had a alluring, gentle soap andwood scent that was unusual, beautiful and almost distracted me from my grief. I recognised those base notes subliminally, somehow but couldn’t place it.
He told me later that it was Grey Flannel. The happiness I felt, at what it brought back to me, made me feel almost guilty.