Power Through Scent – Patrick Kilgore

I was blessed growing up in the backwoods. The filth of the city must rub off on you from birth and the stench sticks to your skin throughout your life. The acrid stench of humanity. Of sewer and sickness. Death and decay. Smog and semen. An utterly reprehensible smell. I imagine I smell like pine trees. At least, I did when I was cutting them down. The sap got everywhere. In my clothes, over every inch of my skin. And the sap wasn’t even the worst part! It was those damn needles. Always jabbing me with their tips at every angle. They managed to end up in my shirt, underwear, and socks. So much damn pine. That’s what I get for playing the lumberjack. Just another hat to add to the rack of talents that involve my hands. Only my hands.

The crisp stench of pine could still be lingering on me tonight like how you can always smell an urbanite before greeting him. I have an obsession with smells. Smells and lust. Or the smells of lust.

It stems from an adolescent lover, I say lover loosely. On and off and on and off again for years. We danced around each other many times but I never had her. I never did. I could have, maybe, if the stars would have aligned but they didn’t. Honestly, I’m not too broken up about it. If the universe wanted me to have this woman then she would have been presented to me as such but she wasn’t and all I got from her was a wif. A wif and some hand-stuff that didn’t get either of us off. Oh, and I got this fixation on smells from her and out of me she got a very beautiful friendship with my cousin. It wasn’t her scent itself that drew out this revelation at such a young age but a story she told me at the tail end of our non-romance.

She was at the beach on vacation along the east coast somewhere and we hadn’t talked teenage lust in the recent months before she texted me. There was a man at her hotel bar, she said, and when she walked by him she swore it was me. He didn’t look or sound like me, he was much older, as I was still just budding into my teenage years. But, still she had to double take. He had my smell. She was near it. As near to me through that similar smell as she has been in months and this nearness in spirit caused her to reach out to me and tell me. Tell me she missed the way I smell. Missed my presence really. My closeness to her. And she hung on tight to that which she forgot she missed when she texted me. Bringing me ever closer to her still.

I didn’t understand the power of smell, of the nearness it could bring, of the power it can hold over a person until it brought an old love back to me. An old love still unobtainable. Er…I wouldn’t say unobtainable because that implies a desire to obtain and like I stated earlier I had resolved the fate of our specific relationship to the universe. And the fact that she is best friends with my cousin now who I had promised before fully succumbing to my lechery that I would try to stay away from her friends. And I keep that promise still. Though, ever more begrudgingly by the day, I might add.