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The Sweet Smell Of…

April 11, 2006

As a kid we’d play the “if you had to lose one sense what would it be?” game. I’m sure I changed my answer each time.

If I had to play it now, I wouldn’t choose my sense of smell. Sure it can take you places you would never ever want to go, like to the brink of vomiting. Yet, for all the times it brings me pleasure and all the memories it helps to return, I think its all worth it.

I was walking back to my apartment one afternoon when I was transfixed by the smell of laundry. It was incredibly fragrant and pure. I immediately wanted to stop and just smell it, perhaps close my eyes and sit down to really take it in. In all honesty and with all cheesiness aside, it made me happy. I literally had a bounce in my step as I continued the walk and then craved the smell later in the day. I thought about searching Yankee Candle for their clean laundry smell, but realized it wouldn’t be the same. As much as I love candles and scents, none of them ever compare to the actual.

When the Boy and I were in the first and second years of our relationship, and struggling with long distance, I would keep a shirt of his tucked under my pillow to smell. I would make him wear one shirt constantly during our visits, and then hold onto it when he left, literally. He doesn’t wear cologne or deodorant, so it wasn’t an artificial smell. Just him, his pure smell. My brother thought it was gross, would make fun of me for wearing the shirt to bed, “Eww, you smell like a boy.” I didn’t care, because it kept me closer to him, the smell comforted me. Recently he surprised me with a visit. He was waiting in my bedroom, the lights were off, he stood behind the door to hide and as I tried to open it and felt resistance I was at first scared and confused, but then I smelled him and was immediately relieved and excited.

I’d never want to lose the memories of those moments, or any of the moments I’ve connected to smells. Like muffins baking on a spring weekend morning, or the turkey roasting on Thanksgiving, or garlic sautéing for a dinner party.

And, going back to the game, I honestly don’t think I could choose a sense to give up.

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