Scent of a Woman

Jeffrey Miller

Photo Credit: Caobhin

On a hot July afternoon, she boarded the crowded bus on Halstead and stood next to him. The bus lurched forward; Newton’s Law did the rest. Her long brown hair smelled of gardenia and skin of lavender.

“Excuse me,” he said, as he regained his balance but not before he drank in enough of the perfumed air around her to get him through the day.

She smiled and fanned herself with a folded newspaper. That’s when he noticed that she had hands like a boxer’s, with bruised and scarred knuckles.

Ten bus stops later and the woman long gone, he couldn’t get those scents out of his mind—but those hands. Damn, he wished he could have forgotten them.


Originally from LaSalle, Illinois, Jeffrey Miller has been living and teaching in Asia since 1989. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in A-Minor Magazine, Bartleby Snopes, Boston Literary Magazine, Caper Literary Journal, Eunoia Review, Full of Crow, Grey Sparrow Journal, Negative Suck, Orion headless, Short, Fast, and Deadly, and Thunderclap. His first novel, War Remains was recently published at Smashwords and is forthcoming from He can be found online at and Email: sparksjam[at]

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