Bottles and Breakups

I lost my wife in amongst the human detritus about a half hour ago, and I found myself standing awkwardly in front of an old table spread with old things. I'm ambivalent about garage sales. Sometimes you find something good, something that has history, and it will collect dust and history at your place until you have a garage sale and the cycle starts all over again for someone else.
I just hated going to them.
I decided it was time to go, so I lurched forward out of my daydream and stumbled over an old wooden box. In the process, the lid came loose and skittered across the driveway.
" Oh dear," I heard Ms Franklin say as she scuttled up to me. "Are you alright, Mr Wilcox?"
"I am," I said bending over to pick up the lid. "Terribly sorry about that."
"No, no. That old thing has been in the attic for the past 50 years. I thought that lid was sealed on forever."
"Well, it just takes a clumsy old oaf to open it, I take it." I picked up the box and peered inside. "And it looks like there's something else you can sell inside."
But, she already knew that.
She reached her hands in delicately and grabbed the old perfume bottle.
"This was hers." Her eyes, much older than mine, brightened and seemed to lose some of her hard earned wisdom as they lingered on the bottle.
I knew I was about to get sucked into a long story. I figured it might help pass the time. "Hers?"
Her hands trembled a touch. "Mother. Mother, mother, mother."
"Ms Franklin?"
"Keep your damn demons elsewhere." She lifted the perfume bottle high above her head and jerked it straight to the ground. It shattered into a thousand tiny shards, releasing an otherworldly aroma, like burnt coffee and petunias, of fresh-cut lawns and cigarettes.
She met my gaze, smiled, squeezed my arm, and left back inside.
My wife came out the front door, nothing in her arms.
"Ooh, nice mid-century tchotsky box. Want it?"
I looked into the empty box, furrowed my brows together, and glanced off in the direction of Ms Franklin. "No. Let's get out of here."
"I agree," she said as she looped her arm in mine. She stepped on the glass pieces of the perfume bottle. "Gary, did you break-"
And before she could finish the question, I left the box where it was and pushed her into the car.


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