... for those who mourn the loss of a soul mate
"He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began." - Leo Tolstoy

Monday, September 2, 2019

If I Could Save Time


I saw a story in the news recently where a dog tracked its owner, a dementia sufferer who had apparently wandered off, by a bottled scent. The bottle had been prepared two years previously and contained a gauze pad swabbed from the underarm of the dog’s owner. It had been labeled and set aside for just this type of emergency. Hearing about this almost miracle made me think of the scents we associate with the people we love. Scents I miss and wish I could replicate. 

 I will always associate the scent of Canoe, an inexpensive cologne readily available at drugstores throughout the land, with Jerry. When I leaned my head into the crook of his neck and inhaled his essence, he smelled spicy, masculine, comforting, and a little bit sexy. Months after he transitioned, I would sprinkle drops of this elixir on a cloth and tuck it in my pillowcase to soothe me as I fell asleep.
          
Every couple of years, our oak furniture required the application of several coats of Formby’s tung oil to protect its gleaming finish. The astringent odor would linger in the house for days. Anytime I encounter it now, I immediately envision Jerry industriously applying it with a cloth to our treasured wood pieces.
          
The rich aroma of a bouquet of freshly cut and artfully arranged roses interspersed with delicate sweet peas often greeted me when I arrived home from work. And the recollection of us sitting on a white-painted bench in the backyard gorging ourselves on tree-ripened sweet juicy peaches or just-picked-off-the-vine Big Boy tomatoes raises waves of remembered smells of summer and hours of life-shaping conversations that lasted until twilight and mosquitoes drove us indoors.
          
I miss walking into the house in the evening and being greeted by a proffered tablespoon of sliced mushrooms sautéed in butter with fresh dill backed up by the heady smell of steak au poivre and roasted potatoes. Some people eat to live, and some of us live to eat. The fresh pungent smell of segmented oranges will always remind me of our final days together. It was the only food my husband would eat his last few days, when food no longer held any appeal. If I could save time in a bottle, it would be bottles of scents that I could open and have instant whiffs of our life together.

by Betts McCalla

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