Open letter on the Subject of Sniffing


Yes, I sniffed you while in line at the AMC theater. You called me on it, your brows lifted into confused flat backed D’s. The girl at the ticket counter looked down at her shoes, bite her lip, looked at her screen, then towards the bar which was closed for the night. She was saving her laugh for later. 
You offered advice on the art of subtlety which I shall in future politely ignore.   
I cannot remember the way my grandmother smelled, what detergent she used on the blanket I wrapped myself in while watching cartoons on the floor. I cannot remember the smell of her kitchen, the soap she kept in bathroom, or books she owned. I cannot remember what brand of cigarettes my great grandma smoked, the names of the perfumes on her vanity, or the scent of the mildewed pages of the harlequin paperbacks she owned by the dozens. 
I don’t remember the smell of my momma’s old Ford, the black one with burgundy interior, but I can map for you the smear of the bug guts on the back seat.  
I can remember the smell of the boy I had a crush on when I was ten, fresh cut pine and rain misting on summer asphalt, and when it rains here, I remember lip smackers lip gloss, Limited Too, butterfly clips dissipating to glitter as a basketball smashed into the top of a girl’s head, the blood bubbling on her scalp and Coach Morgan with blue surgical gloves on telling me and my classmates to take a knee. 
Somewhere in your cologne, body wash, deodorant, and sweat was something I wanted to remember, a story to tell later, or a moment that lingered on the edge of memory that I wanted to relive again. Going to see Shrek with my uncle, cousin, and sister, smearing popcorn butter on my lips and puckering them with a soft smack, the scent of the hand soap at Festival 18 in Crestwood. Something in that moment made me lean over and breath deeply, audibly.  
Was is weird? To you and the girl behind the ticket counter, yes. 
But not to me. Sorry, not sorry. 

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