It took me years to realize that narcissus had no real scent.
I never grew it by itself – it was always joined with nasturtiums or hyacinths or deep-throated koolaid irises.
The heavy florals rose above it so strongly that I was always afraid to pick it.
I was scared that the house would never recover from the bouquet.
If I am honest, it intimidated me.
Its delicate lines were so foreign to the fuller flowers around it.
I was always afraid to touch it for fear that it would crumble under my fingers.
Years and miles later, when my nose had been burned out on exhaust fumes and oil, on a city soaked in urine and vomit, I found a small mound of narcissus growing near my apartment.
The scents I had thought it held were only a faint memory, but I buried my face in those flowers as if they were a mask.
And smelled nothing.
I stayed there, grateful that no one else had seen me.
I had forgotten what it was like to not have my breath burn in my throat.
When I rose, I stared at them, haphazardly placed between a dumpster and a walkway.
I left and did not return.
This week of the Darling Buds brought to you by nostalgia, Victorian flower meanings, and the letter “Y.” As in, “No, there’s no real reason ‘Y’.”
If you would like to see more worlds, scented and unscented, I have also written a fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor. It is available here.