So often I hear people talk about music and how it brings them back to a time and place, sometimes a person. Of course, I have that experience too... so many songs take me back to a moment. But smells... I've always had a strong sense of smell and find that just a whiff and I remember everything about a person or a place.
I recently ran into someone I once loved very much. He still smells the same. Which is hilarious because I picked out the body spray he uses over a decade ago. But...every time I smell it in the deodorant aisle in the store I remember everything.
My Grandma used to make this special kind of dark chili. It's goes over pasta and was something I always asked for. Some kids make cookies with their grandma, my grandma taught me how to make that chili. It's one of my favorite things in the world and every time I make it, I let it simmer for the required four hours... but I barely look at the clock because I know when it is done by the smell and every time, I remember standing in her kitchen stirring the pot.
I remember my father's cologne. And while I associate the smell of the cologne with my dad and it brings up pleasant memories, the truth is smelling it on anyone else is heartbreaking. He didn't wear cologne much, but even after 13 years I still expect to see him when I smell it. I can't even describe what it is like to have someone who is interested in me show up smelling like my Dad.
Not all if the smells burned into my memory are pleasant. My ex kind of smelled like a badger. That sounds terrible, but he had the most god awful body chemistry. He didn't personally smell but I could never borrow a t-shirt and enjoy how it smelled like him.
All of the memories I have associated with smells make it hard for me to pick a scent...for myself or my home. I've been through scented cleaners, various plug-ins and sprays and candles and warm oils in the house. I have never been able to decide on a body wash, perfume or body spray. I wonder if my house has a smell that someday my nephew, or my brother or my sister will remember someday when I'm not here to be a presence. I wonder if, when I'm gone, they will remember my Clinique perfume, or the way I love Tide with Febreeze detergent. Maybe it's silly, but I hope someday someone associates a good smell with me.