Monday, September 25, 2017

Sights and Scents

Have you ever stopped in your tracks, your sense of smell infiltrated by something both recognizable and unrecognizable at the same time? You can't quite figure out in that moment - or, maybe you can - why it's familiar, but with it comes a sense of peace? Or perhaps something you catch a glance of sends you into a sort of deja vu?

Sometimes it's the scent of a certain detergent or a memorable cologne that sends you on a trip down memory lane. I've certainly experienced that sensation. Moments of closeness brought back to the surface of my memory from nothing more than laundry. It's in these sweet moments that I gather material for my writing. These memories rise to the surface of my thoughts and become one more character trait for someone I'll write down the line. 

Every story needs a hero; that person who makes you forget all the pain and the suffering and overcome all obstacles in one's path. Each character has unique traits, but as I've mentioned before, each one I write houses just a sliver of someone I know or knew once upon a time. Instead of being housed only in a photograph or the recesses of my mind, the joy that they brought to my life for however long is captured and shared. I still walk past someone in a crowded place once every few years and a scent catches me off-guard, and I find myself twenty years younger in the middle of a smile.
I guess the same could be said for the sights and scents that bring back the bad memories. If you know me or follow my social media, you know that I love flowers. LOVE THEM. I buy fresh ones for my desk every week (although I've been slacking on that a bit lately), because they just bring a little bit of cheer to my day. Hubs, bless his heart, doesn't do the flower thing very often and that's okay - he does plenty of other sweet things. So I pick them out one morning after I drop the kids at school, arrange them in a pretty vase, and set them out to glance at when the day gets a little tired.
Often, it's roses sitting in that vase. Pink, yellow, peach, white - they're all so beautiful. But the one flower you will never see in there is a red rose (except, on occasion, when someone gets them for me and I don't want to be rude!)
You see, I don't like red roses. Once upon a time, red roses symbolized romance and love and butterflies in the stomach. They were something I looked forward to on a monthly basis from a beau who, looking back, hid his negative traits behind a blinding array of red roses and gifts. At that time in my life, I knew that those flowers would arrive in the middle of the month and I lived for it. Naive and lonely, I adored that symbol because it meant that I mattered to a boy. All the beauty they possessed, though, didn't make up for the ugliness that hid underneath, tucked away until something brought it out.

It's odd how something as simple as a flower or a scent can take you back to a place you either loved being or wished you could forget. What is something that brings you back to another time?


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