Sunday, December 6, 2009

The haunting, through odours

There is a woman who used to live in my apartment who is haunting it through smells. I never really thought this possible before, (but then again, I also have never heard of cargo cults until tonight) but for the last few weeks, I have been absorbed by scents inexplicable save their potential connections to the people who lived here before.

In some ways, this form of haunting makes the most sense, as it is through smell that the memory of people resides most strongly. Once as a young-ish version of myself I opened my mother's closet after a long absence from the family nook and was hit with the nostalgic aroma of all things her. To this day whenever I open strawberry shampoo bottles it makes me think of jazz camp, as I brought that specific product with me there 2 summers in a row on purpose, to reinforce the memory of the place and the people that surrounded it.

If the olfactory system is one of the strongest ways in which the brain associates with the past, it is only logical that some haunts would be of the scented kind. Why pickles, I am not sure. And this is not something only I have noticed. Some have commented on it without me so much as whispering suggestions, whereas others have been prompted to mention perhaps there's a smoky smell to the place to boot.

I like pickles. Of the dill sort, anyhow, which is what permeates these walls currently. So perhaps this is a reassuring situation, one to obtain a certain amount of solace in. It reaffirms the fact that I do have an apartment, as I recognize the tactile-ness of its scent immediately, the dill proclaiming a sort of homecoming amidst a certain amount of turbulence-as-of-late.

To see even uncomfortable scenarios as ones with the potential to bring comfort. As long as this doesn't become the excuse to stay somewhere for too long, or sit in one position until you get a numb ass. Circulation is crucial in all situations, and good circulation at that.

Still, I am choosing for now to see this as a positive rather than negative. Here she was, and then gone, somehow, but the traces left behind are ones I can get behind in a way. Her cigarette unfurling off a sharp tongue full of witty small talk, while the pickles she offered on chipped plates left a tang in the air as pointed.

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