Words for Wednesday participants are encouraged to write a piece of fiction from a provided word prompt. Delores has recently been experiencing computer difficulties and is scaling back her blogging efforts somewhat, but the blogger (EC) from the blog Elephant's Child has graciously (at least temporarily) taken over providing the challenge.
In honor of the efforts of both Delores and EC to put this challenge together and keep it going, I am
republishing my very first Words for Wednesday effort here today.
The word prompt that inspired this piece of fiction was: “life smells like coffee and baby poop, fresh cut grass and gasoline”
Here's the story I wrote. I hope that you enjoy it.
A Life's Scent
She rocked back and forth in the worn wood of her comfortable rocker, enjoying a morning on the porch. She could hear her granddaughter inside, rattling pans in the kitchen, preparing breakfast for the two of them.
The invigorating smell of freshly-made drip coffee reached her nostrils from the open window. It was suddenly overpowered by an acrid smell of gasoline, as the neighbor boy topped off the tank of her old mower. He was preparing to mow her lawn. As so often happened lately, a flood of memories were triggered by these odors. She noted with surprise, that each phase of her adult life could be associated with a particular scent.
College was the time of strong coffee odors. Late night studies were always fueled by cup after cup, into which she mixed milk and sugar back then. She missed the sound of a percolator, replaced by drip machines and now even the hiss of espresso makers. She remembered with pride the young woman she had been at the time - a trailblazer in her field.
During the years of mothering her babies, her nostrils would inhale deeply, trying to capture the sweet smell of her children. And who could forget the burning odor of ammonia in the diaper pail! Oh well, she mused, better that, than the stench of diapers soggy with poop and pee.
Fresh cut grass. When they moved from their city apartment to an acreage, she had loved the scent of newly mowed grass wafting in through their open windows. Her teenage son would spend hours mowing the grass, bribed by an allowance based on the completion of the task. She sucked the presently green-smelling air into her old lungs, as her mower went up and down her lawn. It was her son Owen (forever a teenager in her mind's eye) that she pictured behind it, not the neighbor boy. She sighed, the pain of losing him so young still felt like an open wound.
She had not pumped gas, or even learned to drive, until after becoming middle-aged. Her husband had been older than her by nine years. Until his stroke, he always drove and took care of the car. When he was no longer able, those responsibilities fell upon her. She became a competent driver, but always disliked getting the smell of gas on her hands from the handle at the gas pump. She never could understand why the handle would have gas on it!
Her granddaughter brought out a tray with breakfast, interrupting her travel back in time. Alongside the plate of scrambled eggs and toast was a vase, filled with roses from the garden. She leaned forward to inhale their heady scent, and closed her eyes, remembering.
After a moment, she fixed her gaze on her granddaughter and said, "When you are my age, there will be a smell that reminds you of every good moment in your life. For me, it is the smell of roses. My mother wore a rose-scented perfume. Roses were in my wedding bouquet. My children always gave me roses on Mother's day. And now my grandchild takes care of me, and brings me bouquets of the roses from my garden. A sense of smell has a way of transporting you back in time - so make sure you live many good moments to return to.”
The elderly woman realized that at times her life had smelled like coffee and baby poop, fresh cut grass and gasoline. It was the scent of roses though, that best represented her long life, filled with some sorrow but many moments of joy.
Writing skills are said to improve with practice. I was tempted to do some editing, but have decided to leave this piece as I first wrote it.
Is there a scent that you associate with the moments of your life?
This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!