An empty perfume bottle

When I was five, I had two very close friends and playmates in the neighbourhood. We all lived in a community of small old apartments, which meant that everybody’s house was as tiny and half-dilapidated as my own house and our life was quite basic – only we children believed that there was no better place in the world than our very own community. Nothing spurred our imagination better than these old half-dilapidated apartments and those many hidden corners of our small community.

One day, I was visiting one of my two best friends at her apartment. After playing for a while, I was wandering about on my own when I found my friend’s mother sitting at the dining table with a few beautiful items spread around her. I sat next to her and asked her what she was doing.

“I’m putting on a makeup,” she replied.

At home, my mother never wore a makeup, so, I didn’t know what it was. I pointed to each of the items she was using and asked her what it was for. She explained to me each of her makeup items while I listened eagerly. Among them, two items particularly drew my attention. One was a compact and the other was a glass bottle. They both reminded me of the items from the Sailor Moon TV series that I was watching every week.

My friend’s mother showed me how to put on the foundation on her face, and told me that the glass bottle was her perfume.


I had never heard of such a thing before. When I asked her what it was, she opened the lid and pressed the spray button.

“Usually, a good fragrance comes out of this. But it’s empty now,” she said.

When I brought the bottle close to my nose, I could smell some floral fragrance that reminded me of a department store. I held the bottle in my hand and marvelled the intricate design on the surface while my friend’s mother continued to work on her makeup.

When she finished, I was still sitting next to her, eagerly observing her makeup items.

“You can keep the bottle if you want,” she said. “And you can take this one as well!”

She handed me a small compact from her collection. It had a square shape and a pale green colour. When I opened it, there was even a small mirror inside. I jumped with joy and thanked her for these special gifts.

That day, as soon as I got back home, I showed the two items to my mother with all the explanation I had heard from my friend’s mother. Then I carefully put them into my treasure box.