His Heart Beat, Again

There is a bottle of my husband’s cologne on the bathroom counter. When I have a moment alone, I remove the lid. With a push of my thumb, a mechanism consisting of a burgundy ball and a metal arm snaps open. It makes a faint clicking sound. I close my eyes and inhale. For 12 seconds I am utterly, blissfully lost in his memory…

My cheek rests on the chest of his favorite sweater that is imbued with his cologne. I idle here, for under the sweater is him. Roger. I feel the soft, prickle of the wool and his arms are around me. Subtler tones rush my reptilian brain. His aftershave. His soap. The detergent that I used to wash and fold his t-shirts and jeans…. I hear his heart beat again.

Too soon, I feel the cool glass bottle in my hand, the bottoms of my bare feet pressing on the unyielding tile floor, my empty arms, the crushing grief. I open my eyes and recap the bottle.

I am afraid that if I enter this world too frequently, this magical talisman will lose its power. Roger will be replaced by the mundane, the literal. Cold glass, hard tile. It will become only what it appears to be, a bottle of green liquid. The tactile memory will be gone.

 I open a window.

1 thought on “His Heart Beat, Again

  1. Smell and memory are so powerfully connected, so real. I was walking down the street in Seattle once and in an instant I was transported to my sister’s house in NC by the smell of fresh laundry. I missed her so much and was grateful for the surprise encounter. I don’t think you will ever lose that tactile connection that those smells bring for you because you had such a beautiful and strong emotional bond to Roger. I just wish you had more than those few seconds. Thank you for sharing your journey.


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