I barely remember.
The whispered “Bye” or the “I love you” or the brush of lips on my forehead.
But his fragrance lingered. Jovan musk, I think. Mingled with the scent of yesterday’s line-dried sheets and the freshened potpourri (Claire Burke original) that fills the big shell on our dresser. And still a hint of my Bath & Body Works Stress Relief Tranquil Mint body lotion.
I rolled over and buried my face in his pillow and inhaled deeply. Sometimes when he’s gone for a few days, I spritz that pillow with his after shave. Or sleep with his bathrobe.
I dozed for a moment after breathing a prayer for Duane.
Until Gracee, who stayed the night, woke me with wild watermelon hair and morning breath.
And then the house simmered with steaming French roast coffee, cinnamon toast, cut peaches, vanilla cream hand soap, Colgate Total, Aveda toner and creme.
Only a faint basement mustiness greeted me thanks to low humidity and the new Aqua Essences scented oil plug-in Air Wick refill. A whiff of the litter box reminded me I need to clean it. I shifted clothes to the dryer and stepped outside to inhale the scent of Downy Simple Pleasures Lavender Serenity, mums, marigolds, straggy petunias, and fresh-mown damp grass.
And I sniffed change in the air. And though I still cling to summer, albeit lightly now, I look forward to a time of color and crackling and coolness and simple contemplation.
And soon there’ll be the scent of picked apples and cider, and my house will smell more like pumpkin pie and autumn wreath and MacIntosh spice.
I decided to clean my car today as I noted the new car scent has dissipated, overpowered by the sweet scent of Gracee’s bubblegum and a couple stray french fries. And we headed for the sitter’s, where she goes a couple afternoons a week to hang with friends who became family when her mom and I both worked, and I know when I pick her up she’ll smell like sweat and sunscreen.
We talked about school and how she wants to do better at focusing and listening this year and how she wished she’d remembered her writing notebook today. And I mentioned that when she had her work done in school, she should pull out her notebook and write instead of talk. And she said they were supposed to read. And I said I bet she could do both. And she said she’d rather write than read. And I told her that writers are readers and that if she wants to write, she also needs to read.
And then some white and purple flowers snagged her attention and then some pink ones. And she wondered what they smelled like. And I said it would be so cool to make a big bouquet of them and smell them all together. And then I turned the conversation back to writing. And how she can pluck sights and smells and thoughts and form them into word bouquets. And she thought that was pretty funny.
And I kissed her goodbye and wondered at all the different scents that God has created and how we are to be the fragrance of Christ and whether I smell more like Him or more like a garbage bag that’s held a chicken wrapper too long in the summer. And how I hoped it was more the former but know it is too often the latter.
And I went home to bury my nose in Purex baby detergent-washed clothes and to anticipate the sweetness of baby lotion and formula spit.
Because I think I’m babysitting today while Abby heads to school to rearrange her schedule.
Note: For those of you allergic to fragrances, I say (as katdish might) I’m sorry, you’re welcome.