This Sunday, the smells were subtle, but they indicated a stepping back into formation of my regular life
. My body that had been sweating last night was cool and slick to the touch when I woke up at 10 this morning. It was sweat that was no longer warm, that no longer offended me. An onion bagel and cream cheese
and an IBC Cream Soda
. The hot black tar paper that is stapled down outside my front steps is like an ever-burning camp stove that has been left to smolder
after the steaks and potatoes are done, like gray briquettes that you blow on as a child as they flare up cherry red
as a surprise.
My first day back at the gym after almost 3 weeks of neglect. Chlorine from the pool outside. Coconut lotion. The stale synthetic smell of the showers as the jacuzzi bubbles to itself in the corner. The wood from the sauna smells like the boardwalk of my hometown, how I would walk on it barefoot, careful to avoid the hot heads of the nails that held it together. Even the ice cold water in the Kenwood cooler has a smell of refreshment, of cleanness among all this heat and release. Then, out of the shower, I am allowed to smell for a little while, like guava, roses, and peaches from all my creams and soaps, until I'm out on the hard pavement outside again, walking to my car.
Two air fresheners dangle from the windshield wiper arm on my steering column, but they have long since spent their artificial flowers and spices. In my ashtray there are little faded blue beads of potpourri I bought months ago to disinfect my car of any traces of clove cigarettes, so in this sense my car smells like failed attempts to cover up failure with flowers. It smells like the detail shop's oily dashboard spray and gasoline, of my sweaty feet and legs spreading over hot vinyl seats that are, thankfully, covered with cloth in the center. In the mornings during the week, it'll smell like fast food breakfasts, but today it smells like a Sunday.