Onions and dates

You live in town long enough, you don’t even notice the smell of onions rising from the border fields. You don’t notice it in your sheets, in your hair, on your porch. You get to thinking it’s part of the town, woven into the fabric like the moss that climbs up the telephone poles, or the crooked pavement in the town common. If you’re a newcomer, the smell can keep you awake at night, the way it slides under the doors and twines into your freshly laundered curtains. In high summer, the air seems to boil with the smell, and the rain damps it down just a little. Most people adjust, the way coastal folks adjust to the smack of salt air, or farmers to the musk of manure. The nose adapts, and it’s just another thing that fades when you don’t think about it.

She sorted through her closet for the third time in twenty minutes, irritated for no good reason. It wasn’t her first time on a first date, but the anticipation wasn’t there. She’d rather flake out in front of the tube (a “Breaking Bad” binge sounded perfect), or work on her grocery list, or even listen to the stray cats ruck around the garbage cans outside.

She decided on the purple skirt. One of two choices, purple or blue. Purple was her go-to, what-the-hell color. It was frisky without being tarty. Geoffrey was a nice guy, but there was no way in hell. She had good legs, and the purple showed them off to full advantage. And really, it didn’t matter. First dates were for girls, not for women striding their thirties, already with a bit of a belly and an unremarkable history.

The off-white blouse. Not too revealing. Librarian-sexy, that would work.

What perfume went well with the smell of onions?

She crinkled her nose and hoped for the best.

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