Returning to the table, I sip coffee and consider the day’s tasks. As I mindlessly raise my hands to my face to massage my morning face awake, it happens. I’m brought back in time by a smell – what is it? I inhale again. It’s an old, familiar smell; the scent of cucumbers and soil. I close my eyes and am transported decades into the past, standing in our old childhood playshed near the garden.
I can smell the musty floorboards and unfinished chipboard walls.
Spotty memories bubble up.
I see the paneled toy chest I’d long forgotten about – the one whose lid never quite closed all the way. The one I was afraid to open each spring, in case mice had made a home among the dress-up clothes and stuffed animals over winter. Each spring I would be the one to carefully lift the lid, trembling that mice would dart out and up my arms. Being the oldest had its disadvantages.
Each spring, we lifted the lid and were thankful. No mice...