Smell You Later
Humans have very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.
Wet gabardine: misery, aloneness, abandonment, panic.
It’s breakfast time on my first full day at boarding school. It’s raining, and the pegs in the covered courtyard outside the dining room are full of wet, navy blue gabardine rain capes. In a moment, I will walk through the double doors into the vast, barn-like dining hall that smells of steam and cold dust, take my allotted seat at one of the tables for twelve and eat my allotted portion of whatever is offered, whether I want it or not. And from now on, I will do this every day of every term for the next five years. I am 12. The prospect is unbearable.
Your writing takes me back too. (except our coats were brown!)
You too? I always say blithely that it scarred me for life – and wish I was joking!
It sounds like jail. What an awful thing to do to a kid. No wonder you are so rebellious!
😀 I’m only rebellious in thought and (written) word. In deed, I’m a master at flying under the radar (with a couple of notable excetptions).
Wow. That was poignant.
Thank you. I think 🙂 Those five years certainly had a major imoact on the rest of my life.
I can understand that. Did everyone around you attend boarding school, or did you feel singled out ??? Just curious.
Both my older sisters were there before me, so there was no singling out. They just coped better than I did!
Sounds rather Jane Eyre-ish. Ironically, my home life was so ugly, boarding school — even that boarding school — would have been an improvement. Everything is relative.
It was a long time ago, so yes, Queen Victoria lingered, though not Mr Brocklehurst. It was actually a good school in many ways, and you probably would have enjoyed it in the circumstances. It was just wrong for me.
You took me into a moment and made me sense it, feel it, and remember similar moments in my young life when something seemed unbearable: that’s a lot to accomplish in one paragraph.