Smell You Later

It’s no secret that a scent is the strongest trigger to a memory. That’s right, even stronger than music. Smells can even trigger memories hidden from trauma or repression. Now there’s a fun fact for you! When I think of smells that take me somewhere else, I think of two things immediately.

The first, of course, is the smell of cough drops. It takes me to a grey couch in a high ranch home. It takes me to Nanny, in all her Irish glory, laughing over some dumb thing one of her kids did twenty-five years ago. First, her smoking messed up her lungs, and then her emphysema verified that nothing was ever going to get better. For as long as I can remember, she always smelled like cough drops. I think it became a vice of hers because she couldn’t have what she would rather have: cigarettes.

Those things are pretty addicting.

When I used to spend my summers with her, or just make a visit, we would eat a bunch of cough drops. Did I need them? Most of the time, no. But those things are so addicting!

I keep a bag of them in my bedroom, and another at my desk at work. Sometimes, I take them when I run out of gum and need something to make my breath fell a little less gross. Sometimes, I take them just to take them. Sometimes, I take them to breathe in that strong menthol smell, just because they smell like her. Is that weird?

The other thing that comes to mind, weirdly enough, is pancake batter. You know how you can just smell it, once it’s put onto a pan, or into a waffle maker? I really like that smell of a real breakfast in the morning.

breakfast

It makes me think of a simpler time. Sunday mornings as a kid went the same way every week: I would wake up to my mom making any form of a big breakfast, and sit in the living room until it was ready.

Usually by the time I woke up, Brianna and the kids would already be up and playing, and my dad would be snoring from his bedroom. Then he’d wake up, grab the newspaper, and read it on the couch until breakfast was ready. I loved how every Sunday was guaranteed a good, real breakfast.

We’d spend the rest of our Sundays doing whatever my mom planned for the day, but the mornings were the best. Minus the fact that Mom always made us wait until my dad was awake.

But I guess I didn’t understand the beauty of sleep back then. I sure as hell do now.


Prompt: Humans have a very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.

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