He had very few things from his life before leaving home. His mother’s diary, of course. That alone he would have given anything to make sure it was kept safe. He had, too, her copy of Salieri’s concerto in B-flat major, her tiny handwriting pencilled in with phrases like, “breathe, you idiot,” and “don’t rush!”

But perhaps most important of all, he had managed to run away with what little remained of her perfume. It smelled like oranges; the kind of deep, organic, acidic smell that didn’t come naturally to Siberia. He had hoarded it, the same way she had, trying not to use it all unless it was truly worth it. Smell is one of the strongest triggers of the human memory, and he was willing to be a miser, and keep that one memory to himself as long as possible. Or was it not because he was unwilling to share, but because nothing else seem deserving of that touch of intimacy?

It did not matter. He was willing to share this, with his love, and he knew that whatever may come, there would not be a more deserving moment than this. So he sprayed their pillows with the perfume, and let it sink in. After all, he intended on asking someone to marry him only once; he was going to pull out all the stops. If not for his lover, then for himself.