Saturday, June 5, 2010

It started out with smell.
The smell of him,
and it happened so gradually
she didn't even realize how strange
it was.
The odour of him decreased slowly and steadily
until he didn't smell like anything at all.
His hair,
his sweat.
His dirty socks.
The last thing to go was his shit.
Even those big dumps on the weekends
left the bathroom smelling as neutral
as when he walked in.
As the weeks went by,
other smells began to become muted around him.
If he walked through the kitchen while she was cooking,
the smell of the food would fade in and out like
a radio signal in dense fog.
Within minutes of touching his skin,
his cologne basically vaporized.
One day she found a full bottle in the trash.
Busy with work and the kids and the house
and everything else,
there was little time to worry about something so absurd
as his first lacking any odour,
and then his seeming to negate any odour he came in contact with.
When she found him at his workbench in the garage,
burning swatches of his own hair at 3am,
all the other little pieces came together.
He was holding a clump of his own hair over
a propane torch with a pair of pliers
and deeply inhaling the fumes through his nose.
No coughing, no tearing up, nothing.
It looked like a bizarre magic trick.
"Honey? What are you doing? Is everything okay?"
"You tell me. Does it look like it's okay?
I can't smell a damn thing. At first I thought I had a cold.
But look at this!"
"Honey, it's not your nose. I think there might be
something wrong with you. You don't smell like anything at all."
"I'm telling you, it's not your nose. I can't smell anything
around you either!"
"What's wrong with me?"
"I don't know, Honey. Maybe it'll go away."
It didn't go away.
The day she woke up and couldn't hear the alarm
clock until she was five paces away from the bed,
she decided to take take the children and go stay
with her mother.
He waved to them from the foot of the driveway
and she thought she could see the sunshine
through his hand.
He stopped going to work.
After a few weeks, he vanished entirely.
The paint brightened on the house
and the lawn darkened to a natural shade of green.

1 comment:

dk said...

intriguing. smell is a big thing for me.