The Things She Thinks About

A single scent or song can transport you instantly to another time and place.


Written in 2003, not much has changed for her, who is me.

It intrigues her, intoxicates her really, to think how important her senses are to her. She had hung her satin bathrobe on the back of the bathroom door, fresh from the laundry after using a new kind of fabric softener.   “ALL-fresh rain scent”.   She hadn’t given it any thought really when she hung it there.   But every time she walked into the bathroom she could smell this pleasant smell that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. It was almost like something hot.   But not on fire hot.  Then the next morning as she was brushing her hair and breathing it in, she had this compelling urge to find the source of this scent.   And it was the satin robe.   She continued brushing her hair trying to figure out exactly what it reminded her of.  It had that freshly ironed starch smell that you catch a whiff of when you walk past a dry cleaner.  And then it hit her.

She remembered that aroma as a child at her granny’s house.   Her granny always used starch when she ironed.  And instantly she was transported back in time to the little girl who loved the aromas of Granny’s house.  She  can just see her granny putting her on the kitchen counter where she would lay, stretched out, her head in the sink with a towel under her neck, while Granny washed her hair.   And her Granny would sing to her.  Her granny loved polka music and it always played on the radio nearby.   Her granny sang all sorts of songs to her, Amazing Grace and This Little Light of Mine being her favorites.   The sweet smell of coffee on her granny's breath as she sang and gently massaged her scalp, relaxed every muscle in her body.   And how good it felt when Granny brushed it out, so tender was she, that it was a slice of nirvana while she did so.

And there she stood, back in her bathroom, brushing her hair and thanking her source for giving her all of her senses, for surely she would not be who she is today without them.   And thinking how the subtlest smell can take one to another time and place, if only for a moment.

And she realized how important her sense of hearing had been to her, too.  Just one old song on the radio and she is instantly reliving a time way back when.  The same can be said of all her senses, really, and she never knows what the trigger will be that sends her back through time to another place, nor does it matter that she knows.  For all those experiences have made her who and what she is today.   And this is the stuff she thinks about as she stands in the bathroom, brushing her hair.

Can you smell this, or imagine the smell of it?

Can you smell this, or imagine the smell of it?