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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: Happily Ever The After
By Cecile Hurst


The thing mistaken about death is that, it comes at birth and not after last breath.

That’s why people buy perfume.

Have you ever stopped to think what perfume is? It’s death masking death.

As petals unfurl and curl under with deepening color, it’s the fragrance of death that you smell. When you pass by a bush of soft gardenias or under a hanging wisteria vine, you are surrounded by the aroma of an approaching expiration date.

Flowers are the most deceiving things. So people buy perfume because they’re all caught up in, enamored with, the deception. See there’s no such thing as happily ever after because you’re already in the after.

Remember your birth? You broke through that muck and took to your grave, screaming and squirming you fought to die. Everyday you wake up, stretch, and take to your day in hopes of that ultimate death experience: the smell of fresh lavender, the love of another; fame, fortune and freedom!

You think you’re alive.

Every once in a while you’re forced to unconsciously think of the truth – the smell of sour milk, dirty socks, or your sticky, sweat covered body. So you take a shower and lather up with a fragrant soap and then, you use my perfume (or cologne), and make yourself, unconsciously, feel better.

I work at the Bay Department story in greater Victoria. I deal in deception and am quite apt at it. If you look unsure I prescribe something light and citrus. If you look depressed I recommend something heavy and sweet. I cure that bad taste in your mouth by making you smell good. Sugar water and alcohol.

I thought this was all there was to this state, and then one day some cheery little thing with a sunshine and rainbows disposition came to my counter and asked for something “heavenly”.
I figured heavenly was code for intoxicating – so I passed her a white stick scented with something light and floral – pepper and vanilla notes to a melody of licorice and heavy Turkish rose.
“No, no,” she disagreed, “I’m looking for something more… angelic.”
I went out on a limb and offered her an iris and tangerine concoction.
“Better I guess,” she murmured.
My temper flared.
“Do you have anything else?”
“Holy water.” I said flatly.
Her brows furrowed for a moment then suddenly a smile melted across her face. “Yes, holy water,” she giggled. “So I can be raised to newness of life.”

I sputtered, “If holy water could wash the death off I’d be out of a job” I said.

In silence we eyed each other until she took out a pen from the depths of her tote and wrote me a note on my scent stick.
“Perhaps I’ll see you on the other side.”
And with that said she skipped away.

The stick read:
New Life Church
143 Anchorage Crescent

And on the other side:
A good name is better than precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day of birth.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 (ESV)

I was hooked.

Sunday came and went and Sunday came and went and finally that hook hurt so much I entered the double doors of New Life Church just to get it out of my system.

I sat in the back. I heard such things! I was dead… but I could be re-born to life! There was a happily ever the after and it was called Heaven. And there was a sweet smelling savor that God lusted after called my Prayers. All one had to do was believe.

So I did.

Now, there’s something I should correct, concerning beginnings and their ends:
The thing mistaken about life is that, it comes at re-birth and not after last breath. It comes with arms reaching skyward, hearts opening in love and the aroma of prayer circling round! Just like a flower.

And that’s why people buy perfume.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 488 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Diana Dart 04/23/09
Wow. Deep, a bit dark but definitely intriguing. I was thrown a little when the MC mentioned that they sold perfume. The opening part of the piece seemed more like an essay/lecture than a person's thoughts, so I was caught off guard. But once over that, it was easy to get back into the swing of things. Very interesting piece.
Beckie Stewart04/24/09
You gave an interesting perspective on the topic and I found it different indeed. Good job.
Rachel Stone04/28/09
hmmm... finding life through death. It's all in the perspective. good and thought provoking.
Terry Walker04/29/09
I was wondering where you were heading with this but I like surprise endings. Good story with a good meaning.
Deborah Porter 05/06/09
Hi Cecile. I’m running a little late this week, but just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, Happily Ever the After, actually did very well in the Beginning and End Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 2, placing 9th in that Level.

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

Again, well done. You deserve a pat on the back. :-)

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)