The Sense of Smell (Written 1/21/2018)

I read somewhere that scientifically, the sense of smell is the strongest trigger for memory, and memories are all I have now. The smell of spearmint, the smell that used to fill the bathroom after he showered because of the shampoo he used. Or the attractive musky smell of Old Spice Krakengard or Swagger. Or even the way he smelled when he hadn’t showered that day or the way his clothes smelled after he’d worn them once or twice more without washing them. One of the scents that will be ingrained in my memory forever, is the smell of my husband’s body when I kissed him goodbye for the last time. When they removed his beret (a keepsake for the family), revealing the wound that took my husband from me, I ran my thumb over it, before kissing him goodbye. His hair didn’t smell like spearmint, or even the smell of his hair gel that made me nauseous in the early stages of my pregnancy. He didn’t smell like Old Spice or even a dirty t-shirt. It was so cold and unfamiliar, the smell of the classroom where the science lab was dissecting frogs. The smell of the chemicals used to preserve a body long after death.  He didn’t smell like my husband in the six years that we had spend together. And then I knew he was truly gone.

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