Saturday, May 31, 2014

Scent Memories

photo courtesy of Polyvore

They say that the sense of smell is the most sensitive, the most accurately recalled and the most connected to emotions.

Lately, I've been wearing my favorite summer fragrance, Annick Goutal's Eau du Sud, a crisp citrus.  A close friend of mine wore it also, we both found it serendipitously.  She died several years ago.   It evokes vivid memories of her.

I remember her remarkable intelligence, her dry sense of humor, her many and varied talents and interests, her ability to devour books and her style and class.  She was a friend, a co-worker, a mentor and sometimes a mother figure. 

When we worked late and discussed shared cases, now and then, we'd stray into chatting and laughing.  At a certain point, she would dismiss me, "go away, I have reports to write".  On the phone, we exchanged "I love you" at the end of some conversations. We argued, but always made up, even if we did not process the disagreement.  Mostly, we enjoyed each other's company.

At first, I did not realize the severity of her illness; later, I learned it was terminal.  She stopped working and being together was  special.  It was difficult to view the progression of her disease as she lost her edge and as she would say, "decompensated".  Physically, she became weaker.  Her days were limited, good days, bad days.

I only cried twice in the process, unfortunately, both in public and she hated PDAs.  She was in a chemotherapy session, made an abrasive comment to me and I burst into tears.  She responded, "be quiet, other people are dying here".  How true.  At her proper Episcopalian memorial service, I sobbed.  It came from deep within me, hidden for months.  Being raised in an emotive Italian family, this type of expression was not unusual, but at this service, I was alone.

Afterwards, there were times I wanted to share something with her, only to realize she was gone.  It does not happen much these days. Time has passed.

I still miss her, still think about her, especially in the summer, through the scent of Eau du Sud.

photo by author

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