WordPress daily prompt: “Aromatic”

It’s interesting how certain scents have the power to bring you back to a place, event, or person in your memory. Here are some triggers for me:

  • Mothballs. When I was a kid, my mother would take my sister and me over to our grandmother’s house during grandma’s illness (ALS) so she could take care of her. My sister and I would play upstairs in the “attic” (unused second floor rooms), which was filled with boxes and bags of grandma’s stuff. It always smelled strongly of mothballs up there; whenever I get a whiff of mothballs, I’m back at grandma’s house pilfering through her things while she slowly deteriorates downstairs.
  • Pipe Smoke. When he was younger, my dad smoked cigarettes, but soon switched over to corncob pipes (why corncob? No idea). I remember that smoky-sweet smell diffusing throughout a room, the wispy gray tendrils floating through sunbeams.
  • Hospital soap. When my daughter was born, she stayed in the NICU for two weeks (she was born with spina bifida). When my husband and I visited her, we had to wash our hands thoroughly every single time before we entered the unit. Wash, wash, wash, wash with that soap that had a particular “hospital” scent. Whenever I’m at a doctor’s office or hospital and use the restroom and wash, I’m reliving my daughter’s  birth and recovery from surgery, hearing the beeps and soft alarms of the NICU, feeling that peculiar, heady cocktail of intense anxiety and incandescent joy.
  • Cologne for men. My first boyfriend liked to wear the stuff, so if a passing gentleman leaves a trail of scent in his wake, I’m seeing that boy I fell for so long ago; my stomach flips a little with that scary thrill of the new experience of desire and young love.

What scents call forth memories in you?


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