As I’m typing these words, I’m sitting on my bed with a homemade heating pad, composed of one of Will’s socks full of dry rice. Every time one of us has a sore neck or a headache or any other sort of bump or bruise, we plop it into the microwave for a minute and then it makes everything feel better. And I have to tell you, the most distinctive thing about this little heating pad is the way it smells. It’s this warm, nutty, popcorn-y, barley-ish rice smell, if that makes any sense at all. It’s strong and quiet at the same time, a smell that makes me fell cozy and taken care of. A smell I want to remember.
Sometimes I wish, I truly wish, that we could bottle up the scents and sounds and tastes and feelings that are associated with our experiences. Like Widget’s tent in The Night Circus. It feels so bittersweet that once a moment is gone, it’s really gone. And pictures are lovely, but our lives are rich with more than just visual images. I want to be able to go back to this afternoon, when Will fell asleep beside me and I could feel his warm breath on my side every time he exhaled… that, I think, would be contained in a thin golden bottle. I want to be able to open up a round pink decanter to hear the sound of my mom laughing while she chases the dog through the house. And I’d have a tiny turquoise one for the soft surprise of feeling sea anemones suction onto my finger that day that Mil and I discovered rocks full of them on a Santa Barbara beach. The sounds of Zambia would take up a whole shelf and the smells of Thailand would get another. I want to be able to share it all with others, with my friends, with my one-day children. I want to be able to return to them on a rainy day and relive the brightness of the past. My joy, my memories, my life… I’d bottle it all up if I could.