Sunday, 18 January 2015

Scent - the closest thing to time travel

At times a scent can be the closest thing we have to time travel. It can instantly transport us to a point in our past when we are least expecting it. It can dust off a long forgotten memory and make us laugh aloud, seemingly for no reason, confusing those around us. It can awaken a pain as raw as though experienced yesterday, causing us to reach for the tissues to stem the tears. 

This is what opening a jar of Sauerkraut did to me recently. 

Standing at the kitchen sink
Jar in hand
I’m mesmerised by hail stones
As they batter the window 

From somewhere in the house
I hear revelry
The kids are home
Their laughter makes me smile 

I twist the lid, it doesn't budge
So I give it some elbow grease
And the lid flies off with a noisy pop
My wrist aches from the strain, my elbow is fine 

As the smell of pickled cabbage fills the air
It picks me up and takes me on a journey 

I'm ten years old
And I'm running up the path
Because I want to be the first
You envelope in a bear hug 

As I launch myself through the door
I drink in the smell of potatoes roasting in the oven
And sauerkraut simmering on the stove
You turn and exclaim in delight 

I throw myself at you
"Just a minute" you say, holding me at bay
And you pat your damp forehead with the hem of your apron
Then you pull me into you and I sink into your arms 

I nestle into your Lily of the Valley scented neck
I close my eyes
I feel loved
I feel wanted 

Next stop on the journey
I'm fourteen
And the best treat of all
I get to spend the weekend with you 

Just the two of us
No brother
No sister
No mum and dad 

It's chilly and the night is drawing in
We put a few logs on the fire
The Sound of Music is on BBC1
Your favourite film 

You settle into your armchair
With me on the rug in front of the crackling fire
I have my eye on the sideboard
The special place you keep the treats 

"Go on," you say, "help yourself"
I rummage but can't decide
"Have two," you say, so I do
I feel lucky, I feel content 

And then I'm seventeen
We move away and leave you behind
My eyes fill with tears, nothing is the same
I feel confused, I feel lonely 

But the raucous laughter in the house
Brings me back to today
I hug the jar tightly
Because now you're gone 

Yet I still feel your arms around me
My security blanket
Your apron wiping my tears away
Sad tears
Happy tears
Thank you for reading,



Adele said...

This is lovely Fiona. Made me think of 4711 and my own Nana.