This goes back easily 28 years were just the smell of that perfume reminds me of a letter written to me before someone had gone away for the weekend. I don’t recall what the reason for the trip was, but the note was doused before it was delivered to me. I remember it sitting in my backpack the entire afternoon. My biology teacher commenting about how people needed to be more careful with the scents they brought into the class since he had some allergies to certain. The humor being this was when they still used Formaldehyde to preserve the fetal pigs and cats we were taking apart, the classroom reeked!
It soaked into everything in my bag, but the letter was burning my mind. We weren’t going to be able to see each other after lunch unless we decided to sneak somewhere, so she gave me the note with the instructions to not read it until I got home. She told me she would know and that it was supposed to be a surprise. It burned in the back of my head for the rest of school. My dad picked me up after classes so that we could go run some errands before the weekend began. Him knowing that with Patre gone, he was going to get some labor out of his son for once.
The note contained the start of a treasure hunt. Something that didn’t require me to leave the house, items having been hidden the day before while I was otherwise occupied. She must have talked my mother into this, I don’t know how else to would have worked out. The end was a tape, 60 minutes of cellulose with a voice that haunts me. Before cellphones, email, text messages some of us had to resort to actual letters and other communication devices. A letter for just about every day we were together.
I listened to that tape while curled up on the chair in my bedroom. The headphones firmly gripped over my head. Dumb teenage love driving everything. My dad still trying to get me to do a few things before the sun went down. By the end of the weekend I must have listened to it 5 times! [Do I admit I only found it Sunday morning?]
When she got back on Sunday afternoon, I had to admit to having listened far too many times than I should have acknowledged. We laughed about it for hours. Later when she was in the hospital, I would leave her daily tapes. This is the part where you wonder if people in comas really do hear everything. The monitors used to elevate a bit when she heard my voice, the nurse very kind to say that she understood for words.
When I smell that scent today I feel guilty. Again having been a dumb teenager and got angry after she died about that tape, I threw it against the wall. Shattering the plastic and damaging the tape. I placed it on a new cassette, but it eventually wore out. That scared boy still comes out from time to time when thinking about it. Especially now, spending so much time with her family as they try to ensure that they don’t bury another connection to the daughter. But let’s not make this about my health, this is about a good memory!
I love the smell of Poison by Dior. I have no idea when I’m going to ever smell it without making some effort to remember. Her niece learning recently the broader parts of that story, wanting to connect with someone she never knew. My fear being her running out to bu some of her own. Fortunately most 13 year old don’t have that kind of cash in their pockets.
Closing my eyes I see that note, still remember the smile on her face as she gave it to me. Obviously her knowing what was to follow for me. I like the smell of sweat poring of me when I run, the fresh basil in the garden, the memory of the nuzzling her neck when my ex wore something vanilla. But nothing compares to being taken back to that memory, such simple emotion wrapped up in such a terrible ending.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Smell You Later.”