I had a friend, who has passed out of my life, now, as some friends tend to do.
We moved our Country of Residence, and I lost touch with this friend. I often think of her, and I did value our friendship. She was gentle, kind, loving, and extemely fiesty, and strong.
I met her when my daughter was born, and we remained friends for a good few years.
She gave birth to another son, and another daughter, after our meeting, at the birth of her second son, and my only daughter, who was my youngest child.
I so admired her spirit, and her strength, in the face of her life's trials.
Her eldest son, was the image of her husband. Her husband had been raised in an orphanage, and had not known his parents. He had flaming red hair, from what parent, or ancestor, he had no idea, and had no desire to have any children. He had had siblings, he said, and they had been adopted by relatives, but no one of them had wanted the small, skinny, red haired little boy.
She told me that he had stormed out of their flat, when he learned she was pregnant with their first child. He was adamant he did not want children, to bring into this cruel world. He felt that his red hair had stopped his chances of adoption.
When their eldest son was born, in his image, with his flaming red hair, he was stunned to find he was totally beguiled with the child!
As his son grew, it seemed he developed a strange relationship with the child. He almost seemed to resent how much love and affection he felt for this son, born in his image. It was as if he loved him, but tried desperately not to show that love, or the depth of his feeling.
There ensued a gap of four years, when my friend failed to concieve another child, though she longed for another baby, as a sibling to her eldest son.
By the time her second son was born, the eldest son was almost five years old.
The second born resembled his beautiful dark haired mother. He had her wide brown eyes and her ready smile. He appeared quite different from his blue eyed, red haired older brother.
As time went by, the older son seemed, to outside observers, (such as myself, and my husband, and children) a somewhat 'different' child. He could be quite callous, and mean, to his little brother. He seemed to engineer events, where his little brother came to harm. The hand through the washing machine wringer. The game of "Let's gas up the truck" wherein he poured the motor mower petrol down a funnel into his smaller brother's mouth.
Their gorgeous dog's pup, who was "hit by a car" ~ except there was no car. The puppy was in a plastic bag, and mysteriously bashed to death. He denied he had done it, but my friend knew there was no other possibility.
By then, a third son had been born to the family, a beautiful blond haired, blue eyed boy, who seemed to be immune to his older brother's meanness and nasty tricks.
Thier father brought a baby rabbit home, a caualty of a hunting trip. My friend, who had a very soft and loving heart, hand reared the orphaned rabbit. It became her constant companion, hopping out to the clothesline, following her about the house. The sons appeared to love the little rabbit, as she did.
My friend found the rabbit dead, crushed by the hutch, which had seemed to fall upon the small creature. She could not understand how it could have happened, but her second son told her his older brother had done it. She did not want to believe it was so, but after the puppy incident, she knew in her heart it was true.
After the birth of her daughter, when she almost died, she had a tubal ligation, so there would be no more babies for her. She could not risk the chance of her dying, should she have more children.
She had grave fears for her eldest son's well-being, and she feared for his future mental wellbeing.
Her husband seemed to react with strange behaviour. She found out he had had an affair. It seemed uncharacteristic.
Their eldest son reacted to life with even more bizarre behaviour patterns.
My friend woke early one morning, with a strong perfume invading her nostrils.
There was a horrible sickly, sweet smell, almost like vanilla.
She lay in bed, sniffing the air, and she knew the 'scent' was not a good one.
Her instincts, her sense, told her she would not like the cause of this peculiar smell.
She delayed getting out of bed, as long as she could. Then she saw her eldest son's face, stricken and guilty, peering into the bedroom door, from the passage.
He stammered. He had tried to make coffee. He had boiled water, in a saucepan. He took the hot pot from the stove, and placed it upon the linoleum floor. It had melted a huge hole in the linoleum, which had caused the smell.
Not really such a bizarre behaviour.
It seemed to be a pivotal point, in her son's life, and her husband's curious disintegration into some form of madness.
He threatened suicide. He went on massive drinking binges. He was never physically abusive, but his mental violence increased.
My friend left him. I don't know what became of her, or her children.
We were in the throes of moving countries, and I lost touch with her.
She is often in my thoughts today.
Her sense, and her scents.