Beauty Secret

Love, Photo Credit: Irmak Akcadogan,

Madame Marchand is, everyone agrees, a timeless, ageless beauty. There are many rumors, but no one really knows how she does it. I’ve been picked to find out. The party is in full swing downstairs. I’ve sneaked up the back staircase and am about to enter her room. My hand lightly touching the doorknob. I pause and listen intensely for sounds of anyone within. Nothing. Then I turn my head and try to hear whether someone is coming up either set of stairs. No one. All is quiet; I am alone. I open the door, slip inside and close it stealthily behind me.

Madame’s bedroom is unlit, save for the moonlight coming in through the open French doors. Still standing near the closed door, I examine the room. Everything seems normal enough. The bed, the wardrobe… Then it claims my attention – a lone, exquisitely crafted bottle sitting atop her dressing table. Odd. Every dressing table I’ve seen is covered with bottles of perfumes, jars of potions, containers of everything a woman feels she needs to be beautiful. Yet here on Madame’s dressing table, stands only a single bottle. Stepping noiselessly closer, I see that the bottle’s shape is that of an upside down teardrop. The stopper is tall and fluted, with a single, translucent rose budding from its top. The bottle catches the moonlight, glowing in ever changing, pastel colors.
Drawn by its beauty, I slowly approach the bottle. It wears an ivory label. I stop, listening again for sounds of other intrusions. There are none. Hesitantly, I reach out my hand and close it around the bottle. It is unexpectedly warm. I lift it carefully. Holding it up to the moonlight, I read the inscription on the label. It says, “Love – massively destructive to hatred, selfishness and greed. Use liberally.” I’m curious, but uneasy so I start to put the bottle back on the table – but now, there is another, identical one in its place.
The bottle in my hand becomes hotter and the stopper starts to rattle. I reach out my other hand to steady the stopper just as it pops out of the bottle. The delicious scent from the bottle is so sumptuous that without thinking I draw it up to my lips and drink it dry. The liquid transforms into a warming flush that spreads throughout my body. I am filled with contentment and purpose. The bottle is suddenly heavier in my hand. It has become full again. I lovingly replace the stopper and put the bottle gently into my hidden pocket.
With a lightened heart, I leave the room and go back to the party, descending the front staircase as if I had only been where I was supposed to be. My gaze is drawn to Madame, who also looks up at me. Our eyes meet; she smiles a radiant, knowing smile. I step onto the floor and turn to head in her direction. A small crowd gathers around me. “Did you do it? What did you find?” the whispers ask. Running my fingers along the bottle in my pocket, I answer with purpose. “Go and see for yourself.” Not one ever did.


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13 Responses to Beauty Secret

  1. wonderful detailing of the bottle’s appearance set it up beautifully for its purpose. Lovely tale.

    marc nash

  2. John Wiswell says:

    == It says, “Love – massively destructive to hatred, selfishness and greed. Use liberally.” ==

    That got me to chuckle. I like those instructions. I’ll follow them to the letter.

  3. CathrynLouis says:

    Glad y’all liked it. Thanks for reading!

  4. Kate Curry says:

    I loved how descriptive and mysterious it was. I was inspired!

  5. Tony Noland says:

    This is quite a lush story.

    And, to quote the great 20th century philosopher, Huey Louis, “That’s the power of love.”

  6. Steve Green says:

    Great story, someone should find a way to market these bottles. 🙂

  7. Lovely story, wonderfully descriptive- but isn’t it selfish of the narrator not to tell anyone about the power of Love?

    Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

  8. Sam says:

    Great story, and some lovely descriptions. 🙂

  9. Gracie says:

    This is, to use your own word, sumptuous. I want a bottle of that, myself. And the generous instructions are excellent.

    A very unique beauty potion indeed. Love this story!

  10. a.m.harte says:

    The “use liberally” made me chuckle, too. Do you know of where I can get ahold of a bottle myself? 😉

  11. CathrynLouis says:

    Thank you all for the great comments. I really appreciate it.

    Kari, it could be interpreted that the narrator was being selfish, but she really told them all they needed to know by saying, “Go and see for yourself.” It is their non-loving, negative motivations that hold them back.

  12. Icy Sedgwick says:

    Such a pity that no one went to find out. Curiosity indeed reaps great rewards in this lovely tale.

  13. So glad this did not take the dark turn I expected. This is very nice, and left me feeling quite content.

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