Couldn't tell you if I've always been this way. It's highly likely, though, that my nose has held a particularly high standard of aromatic elitism.
My first memories of terrible scents: I am five and riding through Ontario with my parents. With no concept of isolated smells, I immediately assumed that Canada just smelled terribly. Everywhere. A pungent, plaguing mixture of sulfurous hotdog water and rancid lunch meats roasting in a pottery kiln. Spoiler Alert: just factory smog. Not all of Canada reeks so foully.
Just most of it.
I was sipping a green tea the other evening and paging through a copy of At Night We Walk in Circles, quietly relaxing behind a pretty blonde working on what appeared to be roughly 300 different Excel spreadsheets. I wasn't completely enamored with her work or her pretty hair--but, god, it did look damn good--but I think I briefly fell in love her. And it was all because of her scent. Every time the door to the shop peeped open, the breeze would stir stone fruit and puppy breath and warm salted chocolate in one sensational gust.
I'm not trying to gush; she simply smelled better than anyone else has in a long time. I wanted to take a bite out of her skin. And not in a freaky way. I legitimately was curious: did she taste as good as she smelled?
Reading that, I can see why someone might just stop reading, cold turkey. I think I might too. But, really, it's how I felt in the moment. Just trying to be honest. Surely you've felt like that at some point in your life?
There's something romantic about scent. It's an intimate sense, even without contact. Something so clearly alluring, hypnotizing exists in the space of our favorite aromas. Perhaps its the neck of another, a sheet in the wind, wet earth following the rain. Or smoldering logs in a fire. Or paint airing on a post. Or lemons beneath a knife.
For me: it's the way a room can feel so particular without the scent of the person who fills the space. Perhaps that's an experience unique to me? You've been in that little box a thousand times before, rarely without the other person. And then, one day, they're absent, their scent lingering wherever they are, and the room is suddenly unfamiliar.
I can't decide if that's tragic.
I drew card this week, a particular person on my mind. The crisp scent of paper--quickly fading from my deck--came in small wafts as I shuffled. Then, like magic, like memory, I took a card from the top and my room was flooded with tangy metal and lilac.
And then it was gone, out the window with the rustling of leaves.