Sunday, September 9, 2012

Can you smell it?

I have been thinking lately how much of a "smeller" I am. I have long been defined as an F (feeler), and though I try not to let my "feelings" lead me as I know they are not always an accurate thermometer of truth, I am still a Feeler.

I am also a smeller, and those "smellings" have recently brought me to some big feelings. Hard emotions, joyful emotions. Smells that have taken my breath away and brought me to my knees.

A few weeks ago I pulled out a t-shirt to wear, pulled it over my head and was overwhelmed by the smell of the Riviera Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I had not worn it since then, and it had been washed at the hotel, and oh the smell. The spice incense sort of smell, the dusty sort of smell. I long for that place (not the Riviera, but Ethiopia). I long for it for me, for my kids, and for my sweet daughter. That led me to a small ziplock bag with tiny little clothes in it. When we picked Ribka up from her orphanage, one of the first things I did was take off her clothes, put them in a sealed ziplock bag so they would keep their smell. I took just a small sniff of her clothes, just to remember, to long, to rejoice, to be overwhelmed with thanksgiving that she is here, but so sad that she is not there. One day...

The other smell is so bitter sweet. The smell of my Dad. It has been almost 3 years since he died, but oh how I want so much to bury my face in his shirt, feel him hug me, and smell him. He always smelled so good. He smelled clean, and like whatever cheap cologne my great-aunt Ruth had bought him. I was standing at the deli counter last week when an older man brushed past me and stood a few feet away. The wake of his walking past was the overwhelming smell of my Dad. It wasn't just his smell, but he looked like him too. A "big" presence, business attire, fancy cellphone in hand, talking way too loudly. I wondered if he would notice if I stood a little too close to him, just so I could smell him. Honestly I wondered if he would notice if I put my forehead on his back and just rested it there a moment while I smelled him (weird I know). Then this morning as I was taking a walk, I was huffing and puffing up a big hill, and a little old man walking his dog passed going down, smiled and said good morning and left me in the wake of his older man cologne smell. I made it to the top of the hill before I broke down. I miss him, I really do. I sort of never thought I would, as our relationship was more than a little complicated, but I guess a little girl never stops longing for her daddy.