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The Garden of Sense-Memory

Spring this year has taken me unawares--not that the green grass hasn't been a big tip-off. But the smells, my god, the smells. I walked down a flight of stairs in iuliamentis and helaaspindakaas's apartment building, and the scent was just like the apartment building my mom and I lived in after the divorce. I was four years old again, and I don't know if it's the smell of cheap construction or a kind of paint or the mineral tang of the water in that part of the state seeping into the concrete blocks, or all three, but yes, I was four.

And earlier this week I was three again; the wind hit the trees, grass, and moist dirt just right on the Diag, and I was tromping through the back acreage with my dog before the divorce, thinking I was alone with the world--when in fact, my mom was probably watching from the window or something. That's the scent of Michigan in the spring. Nothing at all like North Carolina in the spring.

And just a moment ago, I was petting Merlin the Cat, and now my hand smells like cat, which most days I would tell you doesn't smell like much--maybe the lingering odor of fish on their breaths or perhaps the sickly-sweetness of fresh litter, but no, this smells indefinably like cat, and I'm seven again, snuggling the innocent cat I dressed up in doll clothes on those first excruciatingly hot days in Durham.

I don't think I particularly like any of these memories--I don't hate them either--but it's interesting that they're here lately. Usually, things don't smell like I remember, or I don't have much of a memory associated with them. But. Here we are.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
captainblack
Apr. 20th, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC)
Congrats again!!
Write elaborate notes about this stuff before it floats away so you can use it in your next published works!!

: )

P.S. the cat probably forgave you.

post post script: yes, that is redmomoko holding Mary Edith there in the icon.
jillfelice
Apr. 21st, 2007 01:48 am (UTC)
Onr of the things I remember most from elementary school, is the smell of the cafeteria which doubled with the gym. A mixture of years of food, linoleum and sweaty socks.
merriehaskell
Apr. 21st, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
socks and food... delicous.
_earthshine_
Apr. 23rd, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it's something about the rarity of hitting a unique smell, or something about the primal nature of it, but it does seem like they can take one right back like that.

Sometime last year i was running hot water on my hands in the men's room at work to warm them. Something with the heat and water that day brought up this particular variation on a chlorine smell... and i was back at my grandfathers pool where i spent countless summer days growing up... just like that. It caught me so off guard i almost cried right then and there.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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