The whiff of someone’s mother’s perfume, sedates the chocolaty air, renewing nostalgia of a once secure, now obliterated into a spectrum of overwhelming thought kind of world. My self-consciousness amuses me, as I plunge into dreamy Sufism in a room full of atheists and skeptics. The people around me seem air-like, almost imaginary, a backdrop for my cascading creations; space-fillers. As they pour, mix pour shake coffee with the concentration of a squirrel gnawing at an acorn. I buried acorns in the backyard as a child, so that they’d go away, because as much as I’d try to chase them they always got away. Instead I caught caterpillars and made a foresty kingdom for them in a shoebox. Appreciating art, they nod with wisdom, cocky and pretentious but perhaps I’m one of them. Perhaps I am a squirrel and someone is hiding my acorns from me.
But the whiff of someone’s mother’s perfume draws my attention back to their realities. Sikhs and Indians and Bangladeshis, all look at me with meaningful acknowledgement thinking I’m them. I look at them and look away because guide dogs and babies on leashes also stare at me with meaningful acknowledgement. I look at them and smile, but they always look away.
I secretly admire the splendor of necks of ladies I’m too intimidated to talk to and the hairy knuckled hands of men I’m afraid to make eye contact with. I merely stare at their hands and necks, the windows to their souls.
The whiff of someone’s mother’s perfume infiltrated my buzzing brain in the underground as I saw a woman struggling with her shopping bags and two young daughters, both blonde, muttering cheeky things to their mother. I observed them with the curiosity of an insane person on the verge of sanity. The tingling of their normality and their mother’s perfume deepened the laced caverns of my nostrils and I took in their memories, laughter and distracted thoughts and hid them in safe deposit box in my mind’s bank.