July 20, 2008

The Nose Knows

Somebody put a vaseful of rosal in the washroom, and before I knew it, I was brought back to those breezy, carefree flores de mayo days. Scents do that to me. I get a whiff of Coppertone, and I am transported to Boracay and lazing under the SPF 30 sun. A hint of musk, and suddenly, I am in high school all over again. The sea, when the tide is out, reminds me of elementary years in a school by the bay.

Sometimes, the memories are good:

Firewood and fiestas. Old Spice and family reunions. Cinnamon and Christmas. State of Mind and my "bestest" friends, Berna and Maricar. Noxzema and college at UST. Aceite de Manzanilla and Gianna's baby days. Brewed coffee and last full shows.

And sometimes they are not so good:

Betadine and the operating room. Herbs and Quiapo and the one time a vendor harangued me for refusing her medallion. Mud and the floodwaters of Espana. White Flower/Tiger Balm and the pre-Bonamine days, when the journey home took 14 hours, a sore butt and a losing fight with motion sickness. Sardines and EDSA. (Who would have thought that Edsa would be trivialized by subsequent "Revolutions," and that Philippine politics would forever smell fishy?)

A few years from now, my nose would probably pick out a scent and bring me back to where and what I am now. Would it be Victoria's Secret, or baby powder, or Promil Kid, perhaps? Whatever it is, I'm sure, the nose would know...

5 comments:

kayni said...

wonderfully written. i do smell certain things too that takes me on a journey to the past of both good and bad memories. lately, it's been more of the bad...sigh.

Gina said...

For me,it is songs that brings back memories that were otherwise buried deep in my subconscious ... Like the song 'You've Got It All (over him)' would take me back to my college dorm days ... Or Basia's 'I Don't Mind' remind me of the painful 'getting over him' days.. Or Rainbow Connection to my high school days..

Rudy said...

Whenever I smell wood burning it brings me back to that afternoon in 1974. It was the day when the rows of wood and concrete apartments in the old neighborhood burned down. We were fortunate, but many of our neighbors weren't so lucky...

Annamanila said...

Lovely olfactory memories, so vividly written I can almost smell .. both the sweet rosal and fishy pinoy politics.

pillow_talk said...

the scent of pine (kahit lysol lang) reminds me of baguio and dunkin donuts reminds me of terminals