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April 16, 2010

One night, as I was changing into my pjs to get into bed, I decided to fish a certain lotion out of my basket of fancy-smelly-lady-items (y’know, lotions, body sprays, perfumes, etc.) It’s an organic sunflower oil lotion I bought on clearance for $6 at Ulta. There’s a blue vintage car on the label and the scent is so overwhelmingly specific… it’s orangey and woodsy and rich but breezy clean. I squeezed a dab into my hands, took a deep sniff, and was transported back in time.

I made Joe smell my hands. “It smells like Barbados,” he said.

This was the only bottle of lotion I took with me on our Barbados honeymoon last summer. And when my back roasted in the sun on the first day, Joe applied layer after layer after layer of this stuff on my poor back. The smell permeated our room. So the other night when I decided to use it again for the first time since that trip? It was as though I was back there.

Joe corrected himself, “It smells like sunburn.” True.

But to me?

It smells like snorkeling. Sun. Rum. Reading crappy literature on the beach. Volleyball in the evening. Warm rainfalls. Couple’s massages. Swimming with turtles. Exploring the beach. Bathing suits. Cover ups. Afternoons in bed. Sweet wine with dinner. Drinks at a piano bar. Eating flying fish and plantains. Coconut ice cream. The Caribbean breeze through our window. Waves crashing against the rocks as we sleep. Calls of tropical birds waking us up every morning.

It smells like the vacation of a lifetime. It smells like love.

It smells like the summer when I felt I had it all together, when I thought I knew which direction I was going, when things seemed to be exactly right.

It smells so much different than how this summer is threatening to unfold. And how I ache to be back under a palm tree.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2010 9:25 am

    Aw, loved this.

    Also: happy belated birthday, woman. Hope it rocked 🙂

  2. April 16, 2010 9:34 am

    I love when smells transport me back.

    Seriously – make this the summer of kicking ass. That’s my plan, May 1st is my start date. I’m hoping to change almost everything about my life and get it the fuck together.

  3. April 16, 2010 9:42 am

    I think I need to buy some of that lotion if that’s the kind of stuff the scent can evoke when you smell it.

    I think a lot of us are where you are… still grappling with the future and finding our way.

    Maybe we need another three hours in an airport (or maybe a cafe this time) to chat and figure it all out like we did last summer.

    Can’t wait to see you cause you’re gonna get one heck of a hug!

  4. April 16, 2010 1:06 pm

    Beautiful writing, miss. I love how something so simple can take you back to such an amazing time.

  5. April 16, 2010 4:58 pm

    OK that vacation sounds like HEAVEN. You wrote this beautifully and that coconut ice cream? MMMM. Sounds amazing! Well, everything sounds amazing. I love how smells, or a song can transport you back and bring up so many vivid memories. Sometimes it’s not wanted, but sometimes it’s pretty awesome.

  6. April 16, 2010 6:13 pm

    i need lotion that makes me think of barbados too, haha. love when smells can bring back so many wonderful memories.

  7. April 17, 2010 8:10 am

    That’s pretty awesome. I love the sunflower smell. I hope your summer starts looking better soon!

  8. April 18, 2010 4:16 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how that happens? I have a lotion that reminds me of Aruba. And a face wash that I bought randomly once that reminded me of junior year of HS!

  9. April 18, 2010 7:46 pm

    Wow I need to get some of that lotion. Seriously. I’m sorry it makes you ache though, that’s not a good lotion 😦

  10. April 19, 2010 8:20 pm

    I associate a certain brand of dish soap with an ex boyfriend. I haven’t been able to use it since then.

    Things might not feel great right now, but there’s still that hidden potential. This summer might just be the best one yet, and you won’t even see it coming.

  11. April 20, 2010 10:57 pm

    Scrambled eggs remind me of London because we ate breakfast in bed everyday for a week while we were there. Every time I see a well cooked batch of eggs I wish I was waking up in our hotel in London.

  12. April 24, 2010 3:59 pm

    Aww, I love this, friend. I love how a specific smell or sound can take us back to a certain place and a certain time.

  13. April 25, 2010 8:39 am

    the same thing happened to me! i bought a lotion for the first time on vacation in NYC, and then I didn’t use it for a while. and when i finally used it again when living in Rome, it totally took me back across the ocean to Brooklyn! they say scent is the most evocative of the senses, and I really believe it!

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