American Spirits and Old Spice. This scent makes up my world. I go to bed dreaming of this smell and I wake up yearning for it. I’m so enamored with the boy that this smell comes from. It does not matter that cigarette smoke from anybody else makes me choke and retreat to cleaner air. It does not matter that I disagree with smoking and the damage it causes. This combination of scents makes me feel like I am in a warm cocoon. I have stopped trying to get the boy that I love to stop smoking. He’ll do it in his own time and he is the only one that can come to that decision. I would stop for him in a second if I could.
Since I have come to know this boy and myself as I am today, I would not be the same without these scents. I catch a whiff of Old Spice and immediately, usually subconsciously, I am looking for him. His shirts that have that scent lingering around the collar still lull me to sleep on bad nights. The smell envelops me and takes me to a far away place where it is just me and him. I love him and I cannot be mad at him for smoking. The thought of him continuing smoking scares me but I know that one day he will stop. He is the only person I have ever made this exception for. He is so special. I wish he could see it like I do. I would spend all day looking into his sky blue eyes if I could.
That’s another thing about him. Those damned eyes. It took one look into those eyes when I was a sophomore and I have been his ever since. Those eyes are a magical blue. They can draw you in and you would never even realize it until you came back to reality. I see love and future in those eyes. I wonder what he sees when he looks into mine. I’m always trying to guess what he is thinking. He is always so stoic when it comes to emotions. When he has let me in, the moments have felt sacred. Religious. The connection we share is so much more than skin deep. It could be cosmic. It feels like true love. Maybe this love was destined from the second we spoke in a crowded high school cafeteria. All I know is that everything in my life had lined up for him to come back into my life when he did. Him and his Old Spice and cigarettes.
Watching him sleep, I am convinced everything will be alright in the end. I’m running on the fumes of sleep, but I am finally hopeful that things will be normal after a while. Last night, my dog Zeke was attacked by a copperhead snake. My family adopted Zeke when I was 11. He had been found as a stray that had been dumped on the side of the road. My family and I have never been entirely sure what his breed is, but he looks most like a German Shepherd/ Pit-bull mix.
Zeke is around 8 years old, so the outlook for him pulling through the snake attack wasn’t great. When I first saw him after the attack, my heart was again broken to pieces. The innocent look of fear I saw in his eyes has scarred me. Zeke has never done anything to anybody to warrant this kind of pain.
On our porch, Zeke sat with his puffy and swollen left paw, in the middle of a circle of his family. A cozy and warm bed was made for him but he would not lie in it. He saw how I was affected and never ceased trying to cheer me up. He was the one who had a life hanging in the balance, but he was worried about my own wellbeing. My dad let Zeke inside, acting with the sentiment, “The couch is where he slept when he came home as a puppy and if he has to die, it’ll be where he dies.”
Zeke limped in our house and uncertaintly jumped on the couch. He knew something was very wrong at this point, because my father has never been too friendly with him, let alone given him couch privileges. I sat next to my best friend and told him comforting words. He still would not lay down even though he was wounded and hurting from a pain I have never felt my whole life. He jumped from the couch and crawled into my father’s recliner. I followed him and let my sixty-pound boy sleep the night through on my legs. I did not move. I did not sleep. I wept for him and the pain he felt and did not understand. I kept vigil for my dog to make sure he was still breathing.
Miraculously, the swelling in his comically large paw began to subside. This morning, he was able to walk with only a slight limp outside to use the bathroom. Then he chased the cat. The snake who attacked Zeke wounded him physically, but did not harm his spirit. He has spent the better part of the day resting and regaining his strength. Last night I could have very well lost my best friend. I don’t know how he made it through the attack, but he did and I do not have to say goodbye to my best friend today.
I can remember the best week of my life vividly. I told my parents I was going to spend the week with a friend but I spent night after night with him. We lived off of Chik Fil A and going to the movies in Myrtle Beach. We watched Weekend at Bernie’s and made pizza rolls. I clogged up the toilet. I never laughed harder. I felt free and loved and I never wanted to forget how that felt. I cried after he dropped me off at home after that week. “Home,” which has never truly felt like home, was even more alien to me after that week.
I just want to go back to that. I sobbed and bawled at the thought of never feeling that freedom and love again. I still long for that lack of responsibility and amount of adventure. I’m afraid that I’ll never feel that again. I tried to remember every single emotion from every single minute but I’m starting to forget some parts. I just want that week back amidst everything that has happened recently. I want more than anything for our love to last through college.
He makes me so excited to wake up in the morning. A year and three months ago I didn’t feel like that. The bad feelings I tried to suppress for so long are here and I’m trying so hard to fight them. I’ve been thinking about that week. That innocent happiness seems so far away to me now. I want that back. I need that back. I felt amazing, he was and is still amazing. That week was straight from whatever heaven there might be. I wish there was a world with only me and him.
I always think of one day. One day in a future that I can hardly wait for. The future I dream of involves him and his goodness. Always him and his inherent goodness that I have fallen in love with over and over again everyday. Maybe one day that goodness will include a child of our own with a head of light brown hair just like his. I hope. I think about it often, mostly before I fall asleep. It is calming to dream of a reality where my pieces are whole and glued together and I can be made happy by the things that should make me happy in this life.
If I have done anything right, it has been him. Meeting him, kissing him, holding him, falling in love with him. He does not see me as disjointed pieces being held together by luck. I am whole and I am a force of nature to him. That fact empowers me on my worst days and makes me even stronger on my best. One day, I hope that the bond we share now becomes permanent and I can sleep next to the man who has helped me in ways that he does not even know every night. I love him and I want to marry him and everything I have never found myself deserving of. I want it with him. I do, I do, I do. Only with him, forever.
Sometimes I wonder if he knows if he is dating a broken girl. I only call myself broken because I am constantly losing pieces of myself and never truly finding them. The other day, I was content to let this despair consume me. I was ready to relinquish this suffering. I’ve never been more disgusted with myself than I was staring at myself in the vanity mirror of my mother’s room.
I have no right to feel this way.
I haven’t endured true conflict, but yet I was so ready to let go. Then I turned around, got ready, and left with him. Being with him feels so good, like I’ll never be lonely again. Then the good feelings turned to guilt and I poured my heart out and laid it in front of him.
I’ve never had somebody hold me so tightly that I felt I might be whole again, someday. He loves me. True, unfettered love not impacted by my past. I do not deserve this, but I will keep selfishly drinking from his cup until he figures out the fraud I am. I am just a sad and lonely girl at the heart of things, undeserving of his goodness, but I want it so bad. When he looks at me, I hide the pain inside of me as deep as I can so he doesn’t have to see it. If he knew how bad things really have been, I’m afraid that he would run very far away, despite the love I know he has for me.
Maybe if I let him in more, things would get better. Maybe.
I guess I haven’t been doing very good lately. Not for a while, now that I think about it. The worst thing about these feelings is how they can lay dormant for so long and come back with a vengeance. This all started when I began to remember. Maybe before then, because I always felt something was wrong but I didn’t know the name for it until I was much older.
People have always looked at me like I was a loser and a nobody and maybe I am a loser. I’m not here to argue that point, but what happened to me happens to more than nobody. I’ve only told two people about it in my life but recently I can’t stop thinking about it and reliving the instances from my childhood. I wish the memories would go away again. I don’t want to deal with this and I want to forget this happened to me. There is no beautifully cinematic way to deal with this, I know because I have the scars to prove it.
Some days, I am so proud of my supposed strength, but most other days I am reminded of my wounds opened to the air around me. This has led to so much badness in my life and I want him to know how much he messed me up. I was seven and I just wanted a loving surrogate family that didn’t stay up screaming at each other over financial problems until four in the morning. I guess I got that. I got that and more. But Jesus, do I wish I would have been strong enough to just stay home those nights.