Twenty years ago, when my grandmother died, I put two of her flowered dresses in a plastic bag and tied it up tight. That bag has sat on a closet shelf every place I’ve lived since. Sometimes I open it up and breathe deep. Her scent brings the physical sensation of her love back to me.
That particular kind of love is why I keep my children’s doors shut tight. They are grown and live in distant cities but when I open their doors and step inside, there they are again in the lingering scent of their clothes, their blankets, their essence. Unlike when they lived at home, their beds are neatly made. Making beds, that small daily antidote to chaos, soothes me.
Someday I won’t be here to make my bed anymore. And while I don’t know what I smell like, the people I love probably do.
in spite of everything, by e.e. cummings
in spite of everything
which breathes and moves, since Doom
(with white longest hands
neatening each crease)
will smooth entirely our minds
– before leaving my room
i turn, and (stooping
through the morning) kiss
this pillow, dear
where our heads lived and were.
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